We recently caught up with international bestselling author/filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT). He’s a leader in the battle against GMOs, and his book, Seeds of Deception, is the world's bestselling and #1 rated book on GMOs. His second book, Genetic Roulette, documents 65 health risks of the GM foods Americans eat every day.
Smith knows what he’s talking about, and he believes that the GMO issue has finally heated up to a level where we can confidently see a tipping point of consumer rejection coming soon. In fact, says Smith, when Europe hit its tipping point in April of 1999, within about a week the major food companies committed to kick out GM ingredients. In the U.S., GM bovine growth hormone hit its tipping point and has been rejected by major food corporations. Now we are seeing clear signs that all GMOs will soon be voluntarily removed by food companies, which means they’ve recognized that GM ingredients have become a sales liability.
If you didn’t know already, October was Non-GMO Month and Smith was leading the pack. More than 100 rallies and events were held. There was a 16-day march from New York to Washington, and about 400 organizations, including Smith’s Institute for Responsible Technology, circulated a petition demanding mandatory labeling of GMOs. Californians submitted a labeling initiative for the 2012 ballot, and millions are engaged in the issue.
Interestingly, there is a “greater, more pervasive awareness” among consumers about GMOs. This trend was predicted by the industry journal Supermarket News, which credited two primary reasons: Smith’s IRT Non-GMO Shopping Guide and something called the Non-GMO Project.
Both have packed a mighty wallop in the fight against GMOs.
The IRT’s non-GMO websites educate shoppers about the health effects of GMOs and more, including providing clear Non-GMO product brands and choices through their Non-GMO Shopping Guide. For the sake of convenience, the guide is also available as a pocket guide, a download and even a mobile iPhone application (ShopNoGMO). (Yes; there’s an app for that!)
Likewise, the Non-GMO Project offers the country's first consensus-based guidelines, including third-party certification, a uniform seal for approved products as well as documented traceability and segregation to ensure the tested ingredients are what go into the final product. Their official seal has quickly become the national standard for meaningful non-GMO claims.
Jeffrey Smith’s Institute (IRT) proudly endorses them.
Another tipping point in the fight against GMOs, according to Smith, is to never underrate the power of consumers as change agents—because they are at the top of the food chain. Consumer choices will move the market. Major food companies have already removed GMOs in their European brands, and they know that GMOs offer no consumer benefit. So, if they see even a tiny loss in their market share due to a growing anti-GMO sentiment in the U.S., they will get rid of GM ingredients quickly. Even 5 percent of consumers rejecting GM brands can cause the world of GMOs to come crashing down, says Smith. That’s just 15 million people or 5.6 million households, and that’s easy.
Smith continues. He says that approximately 28 million Americans already regularly buy organic, while 87 million people are strongly opposed to GM foods and believe they’re unsafe—and they are unsafe. We just need to inspire these health-conscious shoppers to be more vigilant in avoiding GMOs in their non-organic purchases. And for that, the health dangers are key.
For example, cites Smith, in 2009, the prestigious American Academy of Environmental Medicine urged doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all their patients, based on evidence that GMOs fed to lab animals triggered disease and disorders. It’s no wonder, either. The five major GMOs—soy, corn, cottonseed, canola and sugar beets—are gene-spliced to either tolerate poisonous herbicides or to produce poisonous insecticides. Consumers don’t want that, and they have the power to change it.
Add all of this together and you have a tipping point against GMOs, Smith asserts.
You can join Jeffrey Smith and millions of others in saying No to GMOs. To learn more, go to: www.responsibletechnology.org, www.nongmoshoppingguide.com or www.nongmoproject.org. You can also follow Jeffrey Smith on Twitter (@JeffreyMSmith) for real-time GMO updates and insights.