To require that all genetically modified ingredients and factory farm products be labeled. visit http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/index.cfm to start your fight!
"If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it."
Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994
After decades of chemical assaults and biotech bullying, Monsanto has earned its reputation as one of the most evil corporations on Earth, sharing this distinction with America's chemical and energy-intensive industrial food and farming system, "Food Inc." Monsanto and their Evil Axis are clearly worried about their public image. They're worried even more about their shaky bottom line - their accelerating loss of market share to a $30 billion organic and local food and farming movement.
Monsanto and Food Inc. are uneasy that North American consumers, like their European and Japanese counterparts, are wary and suspicious of genetically modified (GM) or engineered (GE) foods; as well as the filthy, disease-ridden animal factories (typically maintained by exploited immigrant labor) where GM grains and drugs are forced-fed to most of the nation's livestock and poultry. The biotech industry and the industrial agriculture lobby are painfully aware that every poll over the past two decades has shown that 85-95% of American consumers want mandatory labels on GM foods. They are also aware that most consumers are disgusted and alarmed once they get a glimpse in the media of the animal prisons and torture chambers the EPA euphemistically calls CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations).
This is why Monsanto, grocery store chains, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association adamantly oppose labels on GM foods or foods that come from CAFO animal factories. They know, just as we do, that millions of consumers are still "in the dark" about how "conventional" foods - especially the cheaper brands of animal products, processed and fast food - are produced. They know, just as we do, that millions of American consumers will shun or boycott products that are truthfully labeled in grocery stores as "May Contain GMOs" or "CAFO."
Unfortunately we can't depend on an indentured Congress to take a stand for us in regard to truth-in-labeling. Especially since the 2010 Supreme Court decision that gave big corporations and billionaires like the Koch brothers the right to spend unlimited amounts of money (and remain anonymous, as they do so) in order to buy elections and politicians. As long as Big Money controls the media and the elections, our chances of passing federal GMO and CAFO labeling laws over the objections of Monsanto and Food Inc. are all but non-existent.
Therefore we need to shift our focus away from Washington and the White House and go local. We need to concentrate our efforts where our leverage and power lie, in the marketplace, at the retail level - educating the public, gathering thousands of petition signatures, generating phone calls, organizing picket lines and pressuring retail grocers to voluntarily label GM and CAFO-tainted products. Then, once we reach a critical mass in our local efforts, we can mount a grassroots lobbying campaign to pass mandatory GMO (and CAFO) labeling laws, at the city, county, and state levels. If local or state government bodies refuse to listen to us, in those cities, states, and counties where the law permits, we will then need to gather petition signatures of registered voters and place these truth-in-labeling initiatives directly on the ballot.
We should not kid ourselves. We are up against powerful and ruthless adversaries who understand that truth-in-labeling poses a mortal threat to Business as Usual. Truth-in-labeling will no doubt require a protracted struggle. But restoring consumers' right-to-know is well worth the effort, since once the thin veneer of "normalcy" or acceptability is lifted off of Monsanto and Food Inc's products, millions of consumers will demand non-GM, organic, local, and non-CAFO products.
This essay was written by Ronnie Cummins.