Local Activists Join World-Wide March Against Monsanto
Date 2013/5/17 12:40:00 | Topic: Food & Nutrition
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/16/2013
Contact: Richard Conant
As part of a growing movement reacting to widespread use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the general food supply
On May 25th citizens of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will join protesters in at least 250 cities, in 36 countries and 47 US states in a coordinated protest of the unprecedented use of GMOs in agriculture primarily by Monsanto Company. The Quad Cities event will be held at 1:00 PM CST, simultaneously with the other US marches. The local march will begin at the Davenport Federal Building (131 E 4th St.) and proceed to LeClaire Park where the event will end with keynote speakers.
The protesters hold Monsanto’s genetically modified foods responsible for numerous health and environmental concerns. Monsanto’s genetically modified products have been banned in Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Russia, France and Switzerland over those concerns, while the same products are being used extensively in the US.
Activists cite numerous concerns about GMOs as a health threat; the most well-known originating from a French study published on Sept. 19, 2012 in Food and Chemical Toxicology that showed lab rats would grow large tumors and live shorter lives after long term feeding on genetically modified maize sprayed with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide or after drinking Roundup in water at exposure levels similar to levels found in US tap water. The study is considered a benchmark as the first study of long term consumption of the Monsanto products.
Other concerns expressed by the movement include a recent controversial rider to Congressional Bill HR 933; dubbed “the Monsanto Protection Act”, which has been criticized for neutralizing the ability of US courts to be able to enforce bans on the planting of Monsanto’s (and other seed companies’ ) GMO seeds through court injunctions.
Recent polls show these issues are relevant to the US public, the majority of which are at least skeptical about genetically modified food in their diet. Only 21 percent of those polled by the Huffington Post said they think GMOs are safe to eat. ABC news said “barely over a third” of people they polled thought GMOs were safe to eat, while 64 percent of those polled by NPR said they were unsure if they were safe to eat. And in those polls the vast majority of people (in the 80 to 90 percent range) said that genetically modified foods should be labeled. Yet no labeling is being done in the US, despite genetically modified ingredients being present in an estimated 75 percent of processed foods and about 90 percent of corn and soy crops.
March Against Monsanto seeks to bring these issues to light and affect change. As Emily Skelton (a local organizer of the March) put it "We need to know what we are eating, and what we're feeding to our children. There should be a clear and simple label for genetically engineered foods. Hours of research should not be necessary to know if we are eating GE foods or not!"
Another organizer, Kim Mix added, "Most people do not know that GMO's are in nearly everything that we eat... Over 60 other countries have required GMO labeling and yet sadly, many people in the United States do not even know what a GMO is. The entrance of GMO's is threatening our food security; you can't mess with Mother Nature. Most importantly we simply have the right to know what we are putting into our bodies."