This is a Call to Action for a Non-Hierarchical Occupation of Monsanto Everywhere
Whether you like it or not, chances are Monsanto contaminated the food you ate today with chemicals and unlabeled GMOs. Monsanto controls much of the world's food supply at the expense of food democracy worldwide. This site is dedicated to empowering citizens of the world to take action against Monsanto & it's enablers like the FDA, USDA, EPA, GMA, BIO, and the processed food companies that use Monsanto's products.
Anti-GMO Activists Block Entrance to Congressional Offices to Stop Corporate Lobbying During the Shutdown
Action Follows Delivery of Monsanto’s Minions Awards
WASHINGTON, DC – Activists posing as biotechnology industry lobbyists and processed food industry insiders are on Capitol Hill today delivering “Monsanto’s Minions Awards” to the members of Congress who have worked the hardest to keep their constituents in the dark about the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in America’s food supply.
Following the awards deliveries to Congressional offices, the anti-GMO activists, posing as the Biotechnology Industry Awards Committee (BIAC), will attempt to shut down entrances to the Congressional office buildings to stop corporate lobbying during the shutdown.
Today’s action, modeled on the one Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies did at the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1967, involves dumping out briefcases of cash on the X-ray machines at the entrances where lobbyists are waiting in line to go through the metal detectors and enter the Congressional office buildings. The corporate lobbyists are expected to lunge for the fluttering bills just as the stock traders did, creating a melee that will shut down the entrance.
Lobbyists scurrying to grab dollar bills is an apt metaphor for what’s happening during the shutdown. They are here meeting with the Congresspersons they supported financially during the elections to create or protect federal laws that boost their profits.
“The legislative pressure-cooker created by self-inflicted deadlines and crises like the fiscal cliff, the shutdown and the debt limit are the worst way to write legislation. Corporate lobbyists are here to take advantage of the situation. That’s how we got the Monsanto Protection Act in March. We’re here to try to stop that kind of thing from happening again,” said Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association, dressed for the day as Jennetta Kontamy-Nashun, Biotechnology Industry Awards Committee lobbyist.
Monsanto, the target of the anti-GMO activists’ ire, is a company that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign donations in each election cycle and millions of dollars every year lobbying. In exchange, Congress subsidizes its genetically engineered food and makes sure it isn’t labeled or safety-tested. Monsanto’s minions in Congress are also available to do special favors for the company when the opportunity arises. This is what happened in March when, in order to avert a government shutdown, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) allowed Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to attach a rider to the continuing resolution that took away the power of the judiciary to halt the planting of potentially dangerous new genetically engineered crops.
“Now, it’s the King Amendment. If the Farm Bill gets wrapped up in a budget deal to end the shutdown and raise the debt limit, the House and Senate won’t go to through the normal conference committee process and that will make it harder to keep the King Amendment out. Everything will be dealt with through backroom deals negotiated by the parties’ leadership and the President. It’s so undemocratic! The voters get shut out, while Monsanto and the rest of the big-money agribusiness lobbyists maintain their access,” said Adam Eidinger of Occupy Monsanto, posing as Haywood U. LaBallette, BIAC lobbyist.
The King Amendment to the House version of the Farm Bill was offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in an attempt to block the implementation of a law passed by overwhelmingly by California voters that says farm animals need to be given enough space to spread their limbs and turn around. The King Amendment is so broadly written that it could take away states’ rights to regulate food and farming. The anti-GMO activists are concerned that the King Amendment, or future modifications to it, could be used to take away states’ rights to label genetically engineered food, a proposal that has the support of 93% of the public.
“Congress needs to go back to business as usual and do its work of appropriations and reauthorizations through the normal process. As long as Congress continues to legislate from crisis to crisis, democracy is on hold and corporations have the upper hand. We’re anti-GMO activists, but we’re forced to be pro-democracy activists,” said Gene Crimes of Occupy Monsanto, stepping out of character, as BIAC’s Ralph Alover.
The activists support Rep. David Cicilline’s (D-R.I.) proposal to ban all lobbyists from Capitol Hill during the government shutdown. They want to see Citizens United overturned and the American Anti-Corruption Act passed. They fear that if we don’t get money out of politics, we’ll never be able to pass the laws that the majority of Americans support.
“The only way we can potentially win what Americans already want is by taking our cause directly to the voters at the state level, but Congress could take that away from us, too. We’re really worried that if Initiative 522 passes in Washington State, Monsanto will use one of these crises as an opportunity to slip language into some thousand-page bill to overturn it,” said Ariel Vegosen of Occupy Monsanto, taking a break from her role as BIAC’s Olive Lotta Pestasydes.
Initiative 522 is a Washington State voter initiative on the ballot on November 5 that would label genetically engineered food. The biotech and processed food industries led by Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) are spending more than $17 million to trick voters into defeating the initiative. If they don’t succeed, they’ll turn to Congress. They have many allies, including progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) who have championed Monsanto and the GMA’s proposal for voluntary rather than mandatory labels.
Company supports consumer’s right to know by setting five-year deadline for labeling GMOs
Whole Foods Market announced today at Natural Products Expo West that, by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores1 must be labeled to indicate if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)2. Whole Foods Market is the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency.
“We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. “The prevalence of GMOs in the U.S. paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult for retailers to source non-GMO options and for consumers to choose non-GMO products. Accordingly, we are stepping up our support of certified organic agriculture, where GMOs are not allowed, and we are working together with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future.”
Whole Foods Market has been collaborating with many of its supplier partners for several years to source products without GMO ingredients. In 2009, the company began putting its 365 Everyday Value™ line through Non-GMO Project™ verification and encouraged its grocery supplier partners to do the same. Whole Foods Market currently sells 3,300 Non-GMO Project verified products from 250 brands, more than any other retailer in North America. It will now expand this effort, working with suppliers in all categories as they transition to ingredients from non-GMO sources, or clearly label products containing GMOs by the five-year deadline. Whole Foods Market will make announcements about progress and key milestones along the way.
“We’re responding to our customers, who have consistently asked us for GMO labeling and we are doing so by focusing on where we have control: in our own stores,” said Robb.
GMOs are now part of an ongoing national conversation, thanks to efforts of various advocacy groups such as JustLabelIt.org and to individual states considering their own mandatory labeling laws, like the efforts that are now underway in Washington state. “Whole Foods Market supports that measure and looks forward to supporting other state efforts that may finally lead to one uniform set of national standards,” said Robb. “While we are encouraged by the many mandatory labeling initiatives, we are committed to moving forward with our own GMO transparency plan now.”
“We have always believed that quality and transparency are inseparable and that providing detailed information about the products we offer—such as 5-Step Animal Welfare ratings in meat, Eco Scale rated cleaning products in grocery, stringent wild and farm-raised standards in seafood, and now labeling GMOs throughout the store—is part of satisfying and delighting the millions of people who place their trust in Whole Foods Market each day,” said A.C. Gallo, president of Whole Foods Market. “This bold task will encourage manufacturers to ask deeper questions about ingredients, and it will help us provide greater transparency about the products we sell so our customers can be empowered to make informed decisions about the foods that are best for them.”
Until there is GMO labeling, consumers can rely on Non-GMO Project verified products and certified organic products if they want to avoid GMOs. The U.S. National Organic Standards prohibit the intentional use of GMO seed in the production of organic crops. As a pioneer in the U.S. organic food movement for the past 32 years, Whole Foods Market now offers thousands of organic products, the largest variety in the country.
1 The company has 7 stores in the U.K., which already requires labeling for all foods or feeds that intentionally contain or are produced from GMO ingredients.
2 Plants that have been altered through a technique that changes their genetic makeup, producing new combination of genes and traits that do not occur in nature, including the possibility of the introduction genes from other species, are called genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods.