An international protest planned for later this month against biotechnology company Monsanto is slated to span six continents and include demonstrations in dozens of countries around the globe.
Amid growing concerns over St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto and the impact the company is having on agriculture, activists have planned rallies for later this month in 36 countries.
Monsanto, a titan of the emerging biotech industry, has come under attack from environmentalists, agriculturalists and average consumers over the company’s conduct in the realm of genetically-modified organisms and genetically-engineered foods. Despite research on the effects of GMO crops being largely considered inconclusive, Monsanto has lobbied hard in Washington and around the globe to be able to continue manufacturing lab-made foods without the oversight that many have demanded.
In March, Congress passed a biotech rider dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” by its critics that essentially allows that company and others that use GMOs to plant and sell genetically-altered products without gaining federal permission.
“The provision would strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of an illegal, potentially hazardous GE crop while the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assesses those potential hazards,” dozens of food businesses and retailers wrote Congress before the bill was passed.
In the weeks since the rider was approved within an annual agriculture spending bill, anti-Monsanto sentiment has only increased. The international day of protest scheduled for May 25 is now looking at becoming one for the record books, and even a number of celebrities have lent their star power to help raise awareness of the movement.
“Here in America you don’t get the right to know whether you’re eating genetically modified organisms,” award-winning music performer Dave Matthews says in a video for the march that has been uploaded to the Web. Comedian Bill Maher and actor Danny DeVito also appeared in the clip to plead with people around the world to rally against GMO companies.
But even as the anti-Monsanto movement increases in intensity, the company itself continues to generate record-setting profits. In April the company announced a 22 percent increase in net profits, and representatives for the companies said they expect to see that trend continue.
“So our bottom line business outlook today means the momentum that we anticipated in our first quarter has clearly carried through into even stronger business results for the second quarter,” CEO Hugh Grant told analysts and reporters during a phone call last month.
Earlier this year, Grant told the Wall Street Journal that despite an international backlash, venues around the world have been unable to link to his company with any concrete health risks caused by their products.
“They’re the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen. Europe set up its own Food Standards Agency, which has now spent €300 million ($403.7 million), and has concluded that these technologies are safe,” Grant said in January. “France determined there’s no safety issue on a corn line we submitted there. So there’s always a great deal of political noise and turmoil. If you strip that back and you get to the science, the science is very strong around these technologies.”
But despite those claims, anti-Monsanto actions are expected to continue as planned around the world — and in those very countries. Four demonstrations are scheduled for Britain, including events in London and Bristol, and two separate events are scheduled for May 25 in Paris. In the US, demos are planned in 48 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
These retailers include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Aldi and many more. It’s the latest private sector blow to the deceptive biotech industry. Consumers overwhelming reject GMOs even if the FDA conspires with biotechnology companies to try to shove genetically engineered food down their throats. Activist organizations like Natural News, the Organic Consumers Association and the Institute for Responsible Technology have helped organize constant grassroots pressure on food retailers to either label GMOs or reject them outright.
“A coalition of consumer, health, food safety and fishing groups today launched the Campaign for Genetically Engineered (GE)-Free Seafood by announcing that several major grocery retailers representing more than 2,000 stores across the United States have already committed not to sell genetically engineered seafood if it is allowed onto the market,” reads the press release announcement. It continues:
The FDA has stated it will likely not label genetically engineered salmon, providing consumers no way of knowing if the fish they are feeding their families is genetically engineered. At least 35 other species of genetically engineered fish are currently under development, and the FDA’s decision on this genetically engineered salmon application will set a precedent for other genetically engineered fish and animals (including cows, chickens and pigs) to enter the global food market.
Mainstream media tries to downplay the power of grassroots activism against GE foods
What’s interesting about this announcement is that the mainstream media is largely refusing to link to the FOE.org website for fear of readers learning more about the “Friends of the Earth” organization and its GE-Free Seafood petition.
The mainstream media, I can tell you firsthand, has engaged in a longstanding conspiracy to attack GMO labeling, deny the presence of GMOs in food and spread quack science propaganda that favors the biotech industry. But they are losing this battle over GMOs and losing their audiences at the same time. The New York Times, in particular, is an absolute disgrace when it comes to reporting to truth about GMOs, and it’s no surprise the NYT seems constantly on the verge of bankruptcy while being known as the “toilet paper of record.”
Note, too, that the FDA seems determined to hide GMO ingredients in foods as a strategy to make sure consumers have no clue what they’re buying and eating. This campaign of intentional consumer ignorance and disinformation echoes the key underlying philosophy of the FDA and the biotech industry: LIE TO EVERYONE. Hide GMOs. Confuse, deny, obfuscate and disorient. Pollute the ecosystem, poison the fields, falsify the science and rake in the profits. That’s the mantra of the biotech industry.
Thankfully, they’re not getting away with it. This is the second significant announcement by Whole Foods on the issue of GMOs. Just two weeks ago, the retailer announced mandatory GMO labeling across all its stores by 2018.
Natural News will publicly shame retailers still selling unlabeled GMOs by 2018
Whole Foods has no doubt realized that coming down on the wrong side of history with respect to GM food is nothing short of corporate suicide. Trader Joe’s had better wise up as well, because here at Natural News, we pledge that by 2018 or possibly sooner, we will publicly expose the GMOs sold by Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other retailers unless they are actively and authentically moving toward labeling and / or eliminating all GMOs from their stores. We support Whole Foods’ effort to label all GMOs by 2018, but if this turns out to be some sort of PR stunt that isn’t followed through in terms of real action, the grassroots activist community will hold them accountable.
There will be transparency on this issue whether the retailers like it or not. Any retailer still selling GMOs by 2018 will be publicly shamed, ridiculed and boycotted by the informed masses of foodies and health-conscious consumers. Sure, all those who pledge GMO labeling say they have chosen to “do the right thing” because they’re all such angels, right? But those of us in the trenches of the info war on the issue of GMOs know the raw, brutal truth of the matter: unless large retailers are pressured into honoring their commitments on GMOs, they may conveniently forget them. My experience with these matters, which is considerable, says that only through the application of grassroots pressure and the constant threat of public humiliation will these retailers make good on their promises to reject or label GMOs.
That’s the ugly but authentic truth of how these things really work behind the scenes. So keep the pressure on, folks, and these retailers will sooner or later be forced to reject GMOs entirely. A victory against Monsanto (i.e. a victory for the future of life on our planet) is within reach. Keep applying pressure and be prepared to continue your activism for as many years as it takes to put Monsanto permanently out of business.