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Ten Grassroots Lessons From Monsanto’s Swift-Boating of Prop 37 to Label GMO’s In California

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10. Maintain Control of the Narrative

About a week before the Election, I realized that No on 37 Campaign would win. It was not just the polls, which showed a dead heat, and a troublesome under 50 percent approval for the Label GMO measure. But when I engaged friends — even progressive friends — and leafleted at farmer’s markets and Costco, I heard one question after another, like “why is the law poorly written,” as well as its “crazy exemptions,” and lawsuits against small farmers. A local Mexican American bee farmer liked the idea of the law, but was seriously worried about lawsuits that might come if his bees pollinated GMO flowers and his honey tested positive for GMO’s.

The law did not cover honey or livestock, I assured him, but facts were beside the point. The conversation had shifted during the three months I worked on KnowGMO, from the health risks of GMO and the impact of pesticides, patents, and GM farming on our ecology, over to the deceptive narratives backed by the No Campaign’s $45 million in ads. Monsanto’s swift-boating of the grassroots had worked.

Next time grassroots activists need to do better. And there will be a next time, maybe not for a while in California, but in other states, and even nationally. Already, one million people have signed a petition lobbying the F.D.A for a federal labeling law, a strategy backed by the eloquent Gary Hischberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm.

Next time let’s be aware of who we are fighting with, and how they have stacked the decks against us. As long as pundits can say that there is no reputable science questioning the health safety of GM food, the public interest in labeling and restraining its spread will be in check. We need to spoon-feed them this science, and let them know we will not be led quietly into the Frankenfood night.

Keep these hyper-linked facts in mind, and spread the word!

The F.D.A. Has Been Corrupted

The reason that neither our government food protection agencies, nor independent scientists, can properly investigate the long term impact of genetically modified food is because scientific research into food safety, and its effect on public health, has been hijacked and corporatized. What little scientific research exists is largely industry-funded, therefore data is manipulated and evidence unsavory to the corporations is suppressed. GM foods are given an automatic GRAS (generally recognized as safe) approval from the FDA, which relies on the very companies that create GMO’s to evaluate their safety for human consumption.

The FDA stated in 1992 that GM foods weren’t significantly different than their conventionally grown counterparts, and therefore were considered safe without any safety testing required. However Jeffrey Smith, CEO of the Institute for Responsible Technology, cites internal memos revealing this assessment to be fraudulent, as FDA insiders were ordered by the White House to promote GMO.

The FDA executiveresponsible for this decision wasMichael Taylor, the current U.S. “Food Safety Czar”, who also held positions, both in government and biotech, including Vice President of Monsanto and lawyer for Monsanto, and USDA Administrator of the Food Safety & Inspection Service. Monsanto and other biotech corporations are notorious for craftily inserting their high-paid executives into the FDA, USDA and various government regulatory positions, ensuring product approval while bypassing legal and ethical laws.

The Health Risks of GM Food Are Frightening

The No on 37 campaign repeated the message that GM foods are “safe” ad nauseum. The Right To Know campaign decided to run away from this claim instead of refute it – an unnecessary move considering the wealth of information available regarding the potential health risks associated with GM foods.

Multiple animal studies done by The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) indicate that genetically modified foods may cause serious health complications, such as infertility, alternation of liver function, changes in metabolism, accelerated aging, disruption of the intestinal system, and substantial immune changes, including changes in the regulatory proteins associated with allergies, asthma, and inflammation. The AAEM advises all physicians to prescribe non-genetically modified foods, as well as educate all patients on the potential dangers.

In a recent French study published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal, the first to be conducted over a lifetime in rats (two years vs. the two months studied by Monsanto funded studies), those fed GM corn suffered from severe liver and kidney damage, and disturbingly large cancerous tumors. 70 percent of females died prematurely.

Possibly most troublesome is the fact that materials in GM soy may continue to live on inside a consumer’s belly, long after it has been ingested. The biotech industry claims that dangerous pesticide toxins from GM food break down inside the digestive tract, and therefore do not pose a health risk. This declaration was soundly refuted by a recent Canadian study published by the Reproductive Toxicology journal, which showed two dangerous GMO toxins, detectable in the blood of nearly 90 percent of pregnant women and 100% of their fetal cord blood.

Numerous doctors and public health organizations have spoken publicly about the dangers posed to our health and the health of the environment. Jeffrey Smith has recorded numerous doctor interviews describing how prescribing GMO-free diets have created remarkable results. Many patients with chronic, supposedly incurable gastrointestinal problems, allergies, arthritis, depression, weight issues and more were able to get off their harmful pharmaceutical drug therapy regimes and get their lives back. Parents of sick children have also spoken out about the benefits they’ve experienced after switching to a non-GMO diet, and awareness is spreading.

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