It’s still Non-GMO Month, so we followed up with Jeffrey Smith, a leader in the non-GMO movement, about what’s next in the world of GMOs after the defeat of Prop 37 last fall. Here’s what he had to say:
Although 93 percent of Americans polled favor labeling of genetically engineered foods, the biotech industry spent nearly $50 million in a massive disinformation campaign to confuse and mislead California voters. In spite of this false advertising, we nearly won. The efforts in California, however, have motivated groups and organizations around the country to take up the labeling cause in their states.
The legislatures of Connecticut and Maine have passed conditional labeling bills that will be enacted once a few other states pass similar laws. Washington State has a critical labeling initiative that will be voted on soon. This stands a better chance than California’s for many reasons. More than two dozen other states have introduced labeling bills this year and many are expected to again take up these bills in the next session—making it clear that there’s enormous pressure on the federal government to create a national labeling standard.
If the FDA steps in to preempt state labeling laws, we don’t know if they will end up producing a long-delayed, loophole-ridden regulation largely written by Monsanto. The swing vote at that negotiation table, however, will be the food producers. If they have already removed GMOs from their products as a result of the tipping point, their objection to labeling requirements will probably disappear. The resulting federal labeling laws will be stricter and more meaningful to consumers. Therefore, even for the sake of labeling, a marketplace tipping point is critical.
Likewise, what’s not often discussed concerning GMOs is that most GMOs are drenched with Roundup® herbicide. They’re called Roundup Ready crops, engineered to withstand otherwise deadly doses of Monsanto’s weed killer. New research now implicates Roundup as extremely toxic; it may be responsible for the rise of numerous diseases in the United States. One study, for example, linked Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate with cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, MS, aggression and depression, among others.
Tragically, Roundup is also sprayed directly on other food crops at the end of the growing season to dry the plants before harvest. This results in very high levels of Roundup residue in other foods we eat, not just the GMOs. These include grains, fruits and vegetables. To protect oneself and one’s family from the dangers of Roundup, we urge people to buy organic products in these categories, as well as going non-GMO generally.
I also want to add that because of the unprecedented growth of our movement and the coverage in the media about GMOs, we’ve reached the stage where more people are ready to hear the information and act on it. I urge people to share what they learn. Due to the incredible leverage of a tipping point, we can eliminate GMOs without ever having to convince people who are resistant. We have more than enough people wanting and appreciating this information.
At this critical window, it’s more important to engage in GMO education and activism than any time in the past. The food industry is sliding towards the tipping point, and we need all hands on deck to assure that we get there.
Our Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) has produced articles, short and long videos, brochures, and Facebook posts, to make it easy to spread the word. To find out more, check it out at: www.responsibletechnology.org.
You can also visit www.nongmomonth.org to find out more and to join in the remainder of this October for Non-GMO Month.
Jeffrey M. Smith is the head of the Institute for Responsible Technology, or IRT (www.responsibletechnology.org). An internationally acclaimed filmmaker and author, his first book, Seeds of Deception, made him the world’s foremost consumer advocate for non-GMO choices—and by avoiding GMOs, you can actively force them out of our food supply. You can follow Jeffrey on Twitter @JeffreyMSmith for updates or the IRT on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/responsibletechnology.