The Non-GMO Blog

America’s Immune Response to GMOs

In his excellent book “Blessed Unrest” noted author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken describes the millions of groups worldwide—“ranging from neighborhood organizations to well-funded international organizations”—working to protect the environment and fighting for social justice and human rights.

Hawken says that this massive social movement acts as the immune system of the planet. In the same way the body’s immune system fights off viruses, these groups fight threats to the planet’s climate, air, soil and water resources, seeds and food, and people, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

I thought of this when writing the lead article about the GMO-free groups that have emerged across the US. I spoke with ordinary Americans who became activated to fight threats to human health and the environment posed by genetically modified organisms. People like Pamm Larry of Chico, CA, Zofia Hausman of Philadelphia, PA, Tara Cook-Littman of Fairfield, CT, Ed Stockman of Plainfield, MA, and Iris Whelan of Ocean Springs, MS. A common response from them was: “I was an unlikely candidate to get involved in something like this.” But they felt the need to do something because of their concerns over GMOs. So they launched groups—like LabelGMOs.org, GMO-Free Connecticut and Mississippi, and No GMO 4 Michigan —to demand the right to know whether foods contain GMOs.

Their “immune response” is responsible for getting 26 states to introduce bills to label GM foods.

They face huge challenges: powerful multi-national food and biotechnology companies that will spend millions of dollars in misinformation campaigns and threaten lawsuits against state governments to deny labeling along with a federal government that allows biotechnology companies to claim that their GM seeds are unique and patented while declaring GM food the same as normal food.

Despite the challenges, momentum for GMO labeling is growing. Natural food retailers are either committing to labeling GMOs in their stores or removing them from shelves. National labeling legislation has been introduced. Even big food companies recognize the growing demand for labeling.

When labeling happens it will be because We the People demanded it. Isn’t that the way America should work?

Article written by

Ken Roseboro

Ken Roseboro is a journalist who has written extensively about genetically modified foods and the non-GMO food trend. His articles have appeared in leading agricultural and food industry magazines, including Natural Foods Merchandiser, Organic Processsing, Seed World, World Grain, American Food and Ag Exporter, Prepared Foods, Food Processing, Food Quality, European Food and Drink Review, Natural Products Industry Insider, and others. Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health (2004 Basic Health Publications) and The Organic Food Handbook (2007 Basic Health Publications). He has also given presentations at many conferences, including Natural Products Expo West, Green Festival, Mother Earth News Fair, Heirloom Seed Expo, and others. Ken is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association. He appears in the documentary film, GMO OMG.

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