“Saturday is going to be a busy day,” I acknowledged to my husband. We had just put my daughter to sleep and shared a moment to reconnect about the day and the weekend plans to get together with friends. “First the march and then the barbecue.” I finished.
“The march?” He frowned looking at me unsure of the reference.
“The March Against Monsanto,” I replied with equal questioning, wondering how he could have missed these plans.
“What’s Monsanto?” He asked, growing the frustration inside of me. First he was unaware of the March and now claimed no recollection of the company either?
“Monsanto? Really, you haven’t heard of it?” I said shaking my head in disappointment. “They are the largest distributer of GMOs.”
“Uh, what’s GMO?”
Exacerbated by the conflict in his love of cooking and his complete lack of food knowledge, “Genetically Modified Organisms.” I said just waiting to hear the next ignorant statement.
“Oh, that’s a good thing. I’m for GMOs.” And there is was, the uninformed opinion of a typical American food consumer. And so the purging of education on the food industry, Monsanto and GMOs began.
We all have to eat and we have the right to know where it comes from and how it gets to our table. Our health and lives depend on it and we need to be able to trust it is safe. However, as so many industries in the United States and the world are, this is a business of making a profit even if it means sacrificing the quality of the product. When it comes to consuming food, we need quality products.
Here are the quick facts you need to know about Monsanto and GMOs to be informed.
- Monsanto is a company created in 1901 and began working with chemicals in the 1920’s. They are best known for their production and sale of Roundup for killing weeds. Their science in the last two decades has focused on genetically modifying seeds to make them resistant to Roundup. Essentially making the food crops able to be sprayed with toxic chemicals to prevent growth of weeds. Monsanto is the largest conventional seed company in the world and has control of over 90% of the produce grown in the United States, contributing to many of the products you consume on a daily basis.
- Monsanto was the company responsible for providing Agent Orange to the U.S. Department of Defense during the Vietnam War. Monsanto claimed it a safe means to defoliate the dense forest and prevent guerrillas from using it as their cover. The direct result was over 500,000 children born with birth defects and the Vietnam Red Cross estimates up to one million individuals are disabled or have health problems related to Agent Orange. A clear example of putting profits before ethics.
- A recent study published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal used trace levels of Roundup in the water supply of lab animals, deemed safe and appropriate by the FDA and USDA. Rats developed large tumors, suffered premature deaths and organ damage. Other animals demonstrated reproductive failure including smaller/fewer offspring, great rates of infant mortality and even hair growing in mouths. For more on this click here.
- GMOs have been linked to cancer, birth defects, endocrine disruption, Parkinson’s and other diseases. Click here for an article published by the International Journal of Biological Sciences comparison study.
- If it’s really all true and it’s so bad, why aren’t we being protected from it? A rational consumer might ask. Well Monsanto has their hands in this too, dozens of Monsanto employees have been making their way back and forth from leading positions with the company to leading positions in congress, FDA, EPA, senate and more, establishing a substantial conflict of interest with the business of profit over the health of consumers. For a list click here.
- On March 26th, with pressure on the government to pass a new spending bill the Farmer’s Assurance Provision was carefully slid into pass as law too. It has become better known at the Monsanto Protection Act, preventing federal courts the ability to halt the sale or production of controversial GMOs.
- While our government passes a bill of protection for Monsanto, 27 other countries have bans in place prohibiting GMO products while another 61 countries require products to be labeled GMOs.
Now that you have the information, here is what you can do about it:
- Join the March Against Monsanto, Saturday, May 25th (TOMORROW). Drop everything and make plans to be at a March, there are 372 taking place around the world and in a city near you. If you are in Kansas City the March Against Monsanto will be starting from JC Nichols Fountain at 1:00pm at the Plaza. For a list of cities click here. Tell your friends they must be there too.
- Sign a petition. There are already over 2 million signatures of people who care about their food and want to protect the health of America. Click here to add your signature now.
- Send a letter to your representative letting them know you don’t support what is happening with your food. Click here for a draft of a letter you can use and send immediately online.
- Avoid Genetically Modified Foods. There are already hundreds brands and thousands of products in the grocery stores which can be hazardous to your health. Click here to find out how to shop and avoid GM products.