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Millions Against Monsanto: The Food Fight of Our Lives

Ronnie Cummins
Alternet / News Report
Published: Friday 13 April 2012
This November, in a food fight that will largely determine the future of what we eat and what we grow, Monsanto will face its greatest challenge to date: a statewide citizens’ ballot initiative that will give Californians the opportunity to vote for their right to know whether the food they buy is contaminated with GMOs.
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For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture, aided and abetted by indentured politicians and regulatory agencies, supermarket chains, giant food processors, and the so-called “natural” products industry.

Finally, public opinion around the biotech industry’s contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We’re fighting back.

This November, in a food fight that will largely determine the future of what we eat and what we grow, Monsanto will face its greatest challenge to date: a statewide citizens’ ballot initiative that will give Californians the opportunity to vote for their right to know whether the food they buy is contaminated with GMOs.

A growing corps of food, health, and environmental activists - supported by the Millions against Monsanto and Occupy Monsanto Movements, and consumers and farmers across the nation - are boldly moving to implement mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods in California through a grassroots-powered citizens ballot initiative process that will bypass the agribusiness-dominated state legislature.  If passed, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act will require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, and outlaw the routine industry practice of labeling GMO-tainted foods as “natural.”

Passage of this initiative on November 6 will radically alter the balance of power in the marketplace, enabling millions of consumers to identify - and boycott - genetically engineered foods for the first time since 1994, when Monsanto’s first unlabeled, genetically-engineered dairy drug, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), was forced on the market, 

As Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director for the Organic Consumers 

Association, pointed out at an Occupy Wall Street teach-in in Washington DC in early April: “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act ballot initiative is a perfect example of how the grassroots 99% can mobilize to take back American democracy from the corporate bullies, the 1%. By aggressively utilizing one of the last remaining tools of direct democracy, the initiative process (available to voters not only in California and 23 other states, but in thousands of cities and counties across the nation), we can bypass corrupt politicians, make our own laws, and force corporations like Monsanto to bend to the will of the people, in this case granting us our fundamental right to know what’s in our food.”

Moving the Battleground

This is not the first time Monsanto has been challenged by citizens’ initiatives or state and local legislative efforts. But this time, the momentum is in our favor.

In the past, GMO “right-to-know” activists have been outmaneuvered and outgunned by Monsanto and its minions in every state, except Vermont and Connecticut, where passing a labeling bill is still, at least theoretically, a long-shot.  (Monsanto recently threatened to sue the state of Vermont if legislators there pass a GMO labeling bill).

Efforts to pass GMO labeling laws at the federal level have gone nowhere, despite the fact that more than one million consumers have emailed “Just Label It” petitions to the FDA, demanding mandatory labeling. (The FDA counted only 394 of the signatures, claiming that the main petition was submitted as a single document, or docket, and therefore counted as only one signature.)



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ABOUT Ronnie Cummins

Ronnie Cummins is founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association. Cummins is author of numerous articles and books, including "Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers" (Second Revised Edition Marlowe & Company 2004).

If Monsanto and others seem

If Monsanto and others seem to think GMOs are good they would be plastering it across product labels as beneficial to health. The fact that they are resisting putting it on labels tells me loud and clear that they KNOW it's bad for health

Finally! I have been waiting

Finally! I have been waiting for people to wake up to the fact that these chemical companies are controlling our food supply. Go Cali!

Good going California,

Good going California, Vermont is with you.Monsanto’s use of its massive financial, legal and political clout to destroy all who stand in the way of its efforts to bully Americans into acceptance of their GMO foods in our kitchens is simply unacceptable. In a free country one of our most basic rights is to know what we eat, and one of the government’s most basic responsibilities is to protect our food supply. In a world where corporate giants claim the right to do whatever they see fit to our food supply under the banner of a “free market economy”, over 90% of consumers demand that the content of what goes onto their kitchen table be clearly and accurately labeled. The real “Free Market” has spoken with exceptional clarity and the moral choice and responsibility of government is clear. Fifteen years or so ago, Monsanto espoused the need for the public to know about their GMO products, and actually promoted them in an advertising campaign in France. Quoting their statements of the time: “You have the right to know what you eat, especially when it’s better…After several months of debate, Europe has just adopted a new law for the labeling of food that comes from genetically engineered plants…We believe that products that come from biotechnology are better and that they should to be labeled.” But that was before the massive consumer backlash that all but killed the market for genetically modified foods in Europe.It is clear from the turnout of citizens at the Vermont Department of Agriculture hearings on GMO that Vermonters, like Americans in general, are nearly unanimous in their agreement with our European neighbors. They simply want to regain control over the quality of their food and demand it’s accurate labeling. It’s time that our government and the 4th estate line up to support them in the fight against Goliath.

If the American government

If the American government was really serious about fighting evil in the world it would not be preparing to attack Iran but Monsanto. Hopefully California will unleash a tidal wave of political pressure that will finish thís evil organisation.

GOOD GOING, CALIFORNIA!!

GOOD GOING, CALIFORNIA!! When you succeed, WE the rest of the People can demand the labeling extend to us, also. Or, we can be copied the labels and post them wherever tainted food is sold. Let the markets know WE will not stand for being poisoned any more. The markets in turn will have to let the suppliers know, because the products won't sell.
WE need to put Monsanto out of business. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet take notice.

We had a food sovereignty

We had a food sovereignty forum here last month. The Agriculture Critic for the official opposition said that the Crop Life rep said that they would prefer if the motion wasn't debated. Both old established parties voted for Monsanto and Crop Life. Two lesser parties voted for the Canadian people. The NDP and the Bloc. Those parties that foisted GMOs on us should never get our vote again. It should be a death sentence for their party.
Good Going California

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuap-Lc85LU (2Min 2Sec)

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