Update #3 ·

Critics of Genetically Modified Crops Protest World Food Prize, Monsanto

Critics of genetically modified crops marched Saturday in front of the World Food Prize building to protest the controversial awarding of this year's prize to laureates who have devised ways to put foreign genes into a plant's DNA.

The March Against Monsanto was the kick-off to a week of Occupy World Food Prize events coinciding with the annual Iowa award, often called the Nobel Prize of Agriculture, founded by Dr. Normal Borlaug.

One of this year's three laureates is the chief technology officer at Monsanto, the world's largest seed company. Monsanto, which produces genetically modified corn, soybean and other seeds, is at the center of the controversy over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

"We think that the World Food Prize should not be given to people who basically invented GMOs," said Jess Mazour, the farming and environment organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, one of the rally's coordinators.

By awarding the prize to a Monsanto executive, "it says to the world that we value corporations over people," Mazour said.

The protest began across from Des Moines City Hall, where marchers held signs that said, "GMO OMG WTF R we eating?"; "Stop factory farms"; and "Label it"-a plea for food producers to indicate on product packaging whether GMOs are among the ingredients. 

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