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The United State of GMOs – Keeping Us in the Dark

Watch: My Personal Account Of How Our Leaders In Washington Are Denying One Of Our Most Fundamental Rights:

As a delegate from North Carolina at the recent Democratic National Convention (DNC), I sought the truth about GMO-labeling from the leaders of our country and was completely appalled at what I discovered. As many people may know, our food is missing a very important label – one that President Obama, the FDA, and the USDA have made a concerted effort to deny us from having.

This label is for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are in 90% of our processed food. GMOs are foods biologically manufactured in laboratories – injected with new DNA, viruses, herbicides, insecticides and/or other chemicals – to be resistant to synthetic chemicals and are completely different than hybridizing techniques allowed by nature. Furthermore, GMOs receive patents by the U.S. Patent Office because they have been deemed to be unique and different. Over 50 countries around the world require GMOs to be labeled or regulated.The U.S.A. does not.

President Obama promised to label genetically modified foods during his campaign in 2007 but once elected into office, he abandoned this stance. Why? Upsetting Big Ag and the chemical industry was not going to help him get re-elected in 2012. Protecting the rights of American consumers and keeping his campaign pledge were obviously of secondary importance.

Representing North Carolina at the DNC, I believed it was my obligation to hold the leaders I helped put in office accountable for their actions. Below are highlights from the GMO–labeling conversations I had with national democratic leaders, media and celebrities. I now know why a GMO-labeling law has never passed.

DNC

  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party didn’t know enough about the issue to respond. She has had 7 breast cancer surgeries and didn’t have an opinion about this issue that is directly related to health.
  • Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina said she does not support labeling and we needed to look at “the science” of the issue. I asked her – “What does science have to do with our fundamental human right to know what is in our food?”
  • Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio began to answer my question saying states shouldn’t label GMOs independently of the federal government but stopped talking to me after I asked him if he was working on a federal labeling initiative.
  • Edward Avalos, Under Secretary of Agriculture stated during a lunch meeting that GMO-labeling laws must be specific for him to support them due to added regulation and enforcement of labels. I was surprised that he thinks the additional regulation would be a burden to our food system, considering all the countries who currently label GMOs. If China can label GMOs for billions of people, why would it be more burdensome for the United States to do the same?
  • General Wesley Clark, former Presidential candidate is completely against labeling because he is co-chairman of a lobby group for ethanol, which uses genetically-modified corn.
  • Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles looked at me like a deer in headlights and wouldn’t comment on the issue.
  • Jesse Jackson, former Presidential Candidate and Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and former Chief of Staff for President Obama, both said they didn’t know anything about the issue and had me repeat the question twice.
  • President Bill Clinton deftly avoided answering the question and instead told me about being vegan. He said he’s mostly vegan, but he eats fish twice a month.
  • Chris Matthews, talk show host on MSNBC, rolled his eyes at me and asked “When has that (GMO-labeling) ever been an issue brought up on one of my shows?”
  • David Gregory, Donna Brazile, and Savannah Guthrie wouldn’t comment on the issue.
  • Chuck Todd, NBC News White House Correspondent responded “Get people talking about GMOs and I will.”
  • Celebrities Ashley Judd, James Taylor, Olivia Wilde, Kal Penn, and Jared Leto all agreed that Americans have the right to know what’s in their food and had a better grasp on the issue than all of the politicians I spoke to.
  • Will.i.am gave me a “high five” and mouthed off to reporters asking him questions “Now that’s the type of question you guys need to be asking me!” and “that’s the best question ever.”

When Secretary of the USDA Tom Vilsack spoke at the convention, I protested and held up a sign saying “LABEL GMOs”.  It was hard to listen to what he had to say because I was besieged by video cameras and photographers in the front row who tried to capture what I was doing. When I re-read Vilsack’s speech, I was reminded that he is bureaucrat, not a man willing to go against his financial ties to protect the rights and health of American citizens.  (The Washington Times reported the news story here.)

Despite polls consistently showing that more than 90% of the population want GMOs to be labeled, our leaders in Washington refuse to acknowledge this truth and will not implement mandatory GMO-labeling at the federal level.

Lucky for us, we can take matters into our own hands and we don’t have to wait for Washington. Each individual state has the power to enact labeling on their own and if they do, it will have a ripple effect on the rest of the nation and encourage other states to do the same.

I am not sure how we can move this country “Forward,” as President Obama suggests, if our food policy and the resulting health of our nation continues to go backwards. Labeling GMOs will allow us all to finally understand what we are eating. As American citizens, it is our fundamental right to know what’s in our food.

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153 responses to “The United State of GMOs – Keeping Us in the Dark

  1. Wow. Foodbabe you are amazing and such an inspiration. Keep it up. They can’t ignore us forever. Change is coming. Thanks for pleading this cause..it is so important.

  2. You are awesome, Food Babe.

    No one is going to get away with stopping this train of justice – and you are one of the locomotives!

    Rock on!

  3. Thank you for pushing this issue. I live in Idaho but am donating money to pass Prop 37 in California. It will impact the entire county and lead the way for labeling of GMO’s throughout the country. No matter where you live if you want GMO’s to be labeled we need to support this Proposition in California.

  4. Thanks! FoodBabe ~ This issue is a PASSION of mine. Have been a CA LabelGMOs volunteer in Sonoma county wine country since the movement’s beginnings over a year ago.

    Thanks for what you’ve been doing, asking key folks these pointed questions.

    If any of your readers have CA contacts, please encourage them to vote YES! on Prop 37. Also, the campaign could use donations to fund our TV ads we’re waiting to launch. LabelGMOs needs direct dollars NOW to run TV ads to counteract the barrage of misinformation and lies that are being run by the No-on-Prop37 conglomerate. Encourage your contacts to donate directly to the YES! On Prop37 campaign. Here’s the link: https://prop37.nationbuilder.com/donate_to_know

    With appreciation and gratitude for your commitment.

  5. If GMOs are so good, why am I not seeing labels that say “Guaranteed 100% top quality GMOs!” I know that if I am selling a product that has quality and value for the consumer…I am going to let the buyer know it is there and why. Funny. all I am hearing are vague reasons why this would be such a bad move (prop 37) for us in California. I want the choice! I have always wanted the choice! This whole campaign of sneaking in a highly profitable inferior product to unaware consumers smells like corporate greed that has no consideration for its footprint and who it steps on. I choose to give myself the choice but I am open minded……Tell me why? Why are GMOs so good?

  6. I’m with you ALL THE WAY, Food Babe! Working hard here in Minnesota trying to get folks to wake up and smell the reality!! GMO’s are in EVERY non-organic corn, cottonseed, canola, sugar beets, soy and alfalfa product out there, and when you stop eating GMO foods, and start eating REAL food, food that’s not tainted genetically, or riddled with pesticides/herbicides/fungicides and hormones, food that comes from animals allowed to be true to their nature and allowed to roam around eating what they are supposed to eat rather than fed GMO corn and soybeans their whole life, your health actually makes a come-back! Huh, what a concept! Thanks, Food Babe, for your hard work with getting people’s attention. Our entire country is asleep except for those of us who are in the know….it’s just a matter of time…one day Americans will wake up! VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 37 !

  7. Change is coming!… Change is all!…Change rules the Universe!

    Health is the greatest of our blessings!… Trust the best that people can posses, Truth the sweetest of the sweet …. and LOVE the greatest feeling humanity needs to share among all of US…

    Clean Air… Clean Water… Healthy Food… Fair Work and a place to Rest that is All!

    CALIFORNIA HERE YOU GO AND I GO WITH YOU ALL!…. Aloha!

  8. You should totally run for office. Don’t live in Carolina anymore, but if I did, I’d vote for you in a heartbeat. Wish there were more people in office willing to do what is right instead selling their integrity for corporate donations.

  9. If you and I and everyone in our country

    will become active, by voting, talking, educating, signing petitions

    in defending our rights to know whether GMO or other hidden-now hazards are in our food,

    then you and your families have a chance to be healthy and to save your very home – the planet Earth.

  10. Great work!! It’s no surprise you were ignored so much, most of those people know exactly what you’re talking about, but have already been tainted by Monsanto’s money. I know Senator Brown took a fat chunk. The info about campaign donations is out there, and too bad it takes so little for most of them. It only took $3-5000/each to buy the politicians in Hawaii last year, a pathetic amount of money versus the consequences of this issue. Sadly it was Clinton that signed the law allowing GMOs to be patented, which gave them value. One of his best friends was like the VP at Monsanto for a while. Hilary can’t be trusted with this either, and the Obama’s, while supporting organic farming at home, are not about to take this head on with all the other issues they already have to worry about. We must get this passed in CA, and be preparred to keep fighting, because Monsanto believes this will destroy their company (we can only hope).

  11. Looks like this administration is hell bent on killing our children one way or another: either through (poisoning) our food chain or through abortion. And one might also add, via mandated vaccinations. And it’s my understanding that they are using these methods as a form of population control. I certainly hope that change is really coming this time. It certainly has been a long time coming. Let’s hope we can get some politicians who really are concerned with our needs, as opposed to their need to line their pockets.

  12. Hey Food Babe: Having spent many years involved in natural/holistic health, organics, and now the fight against GMOs, what do we have to show for it? Great health, energy, no doctors or doctor bills! We must win this fight, and I thank you for all you’re doing toward that end!

  13. So does this clue you in to the fact that the Democrats don’t care about this issue – across the board. It is not on their radar… Dems are in big pharma’s pocket and agribusinesses pocket too

    1. thank you for saying this. It seems that dems are untouchable. I am shocked that she mentioned Obama at all. I like most of what she does but she does seem to favor one side over the other. Its my opinion..not saying its yours.
      I just get tired of the political bashing being one sides

  14. Kudos and Brilliant, Food Babe!!! I wear my Institute for Responsible Technology “GMO, OMG, WTF Are We Eating” t-shirt as often as I can to grocery stores, these days. I find it definitely opens educational dialogue with other consumers, on the topic.
    The corporate “culling our population” is indeed happening, btw.
    For anyone who hasn’t seen the documentary on You Tube “What on Earth Are They Spraying” (and the sequel, “Why on Earth Are They Spraying”) regarding chemtrails (along with H.A.A.R.P.), I would highly recommend it. Educate yourselves on what, exactly, is being sprayed into our atmosphere for the last decade, unbeknownst to the public.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybWku-lJe6I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEfJO0-cTis

  15. The proposed GMO labeling has gained popularity in other states. For instance, Maui County passed the proposed GMO labeling resolution onto the Hawaii State Association of Counties’ (HSAC) Executive Committee for inclusion in their draft HSAC package for this year’s upcoming state legislative session. If the resolution is passed by all of Hawaii’s 4 councils & state legislature, then it would require that beginning Jan. 1, 2014, no food or raw agriculture commodity would be sold in the State of Hawaii if it contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material, unless it bears a label that provides the following disclosure notice in bold-faced print and not less than ten-point type: “THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS A GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MATERIAL, OR WAS PRODUCED WITH A GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MATERIAL.”

    Full Text:

    http://www.lahainanews.com/page/content.detail/id/508610/Council-seeks-labeling-requirements-for-genetically-engineered-foods.html?nav=19

  16. Wow! Thanks you for your courage and dedication to we the people. We should clone you (except I don’t believe in genetic engineering of any kind of life). I’ve been working on California’s Prop 37 since last January when I first learned of GE foods thanks to Jeffrey Smith and his Institute for Responsible Technology. Campaigning to put a proposition on the ballot started out a bit lonely, but the dedication of volunteers and the riveting science kept me going. Now, thanks to you and growing support from all over the country we are feeling more encouraged. The “No campaign” is completely disingenuous. Their growing contributions ($34+ millions) and misleading if not false claims are causing folks to question every detail–imagined or otherwise–in our very simple proposition. No, Prop 37 does not take a stand on dog food! We just want our democratic right to simple information…the truth about what is and is not included on labeling of the food we eat. That’s about as basic a request as one can ask…unless they live in a police state.

  17. I was so upset when Obama appointed Michael Taylor. He is a former top executive, lawyer and lobbyist with biotech giant Monsanto Co. He has rotated in and out of law firms, Monsanto, the USDA and FDA.

    During his former stint in the FDA during the Clinton administration he helped write the rules to allow rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) into the American food system and our children’s milk. Which is perhaps why the FDA staffer who wrote Taylor’s bio seems to have all-but-forgotten his decade-plus of Monsanto work. Michael Taylor and Monsanto are responsible for subjecting this country and many others to the increased risk of breast cancer (7 times greater risk), prostate cancer and colon cancer because of what they did to milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream with rBGH as well as to all the foods that rely on milk solids and other parts of milk.

    As a bi-product of the rBGH fight Michael Taylor then led the ban on labeling of GM products all together. This was labeled “the principal of substantial equivalence” which prohibits any distinction to be made between GM and traditional products. Regardless of any testing or lack there of on the possible effects of GM foods used for human consumption. Even though Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried “serious health hazards,” and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply.

    He left the FDA in 1994 and a few years later became Monsanto’s Vice President in charge of lobbying in Washington. As a lobbyist, Taylor argued AGAINST the Delaney Clause, one of the foundations of food safety regulation that prohibits cancer-causing chemicals to be added to food.

  18. Thank you to your dedication, time and effort on this matter it is extremely important and this bill must be passed, Good luck I support you 150%

  19. Great work you’re doing – keep it up! As an Anti-Aging physician I am constantly trying to educate patients that come to see me with a myriad of ailments, many caused by the lifestyles they lead and worsened by the food choices they are making. As they understand and start to make better choices it is hard for them to make informed decisions about the products they are buying without proper labeling.

    I applaud Californian’s actions to get the word out and put this on the ballot to start this monumental and vitally important change moving forward. I have donated money to support their efforts and hope that anyone that is able to do so also send money to get the word out to support this important vote!

  20. This is a vital public health issue; one that both conservatives and liberals, democrats and republicans can agree upon and join together to eventually put a stop to the contamination of our food. Recent studies prove GMO foods are truly toxic foreign material causing cancer in laboratory animals, hardly “essentially the same” as contented by the biotech industry. As a physician boarded in public health and as an agricultural educator, I can, without hesitation, say that GMO foods are the greatest threat ever to befall humankind. Not one claim for GMO’s has come true; they require more water and energy to grow, they yield less, they reduce cattle health and productivity when consumed. We already have the technology using appropriate nutritional and farm management practices to solve our food and environmental problems. We don’t need to genetically engineer anything to feed the world. Also, GMO’s have increased the use of pesticides, particularly glyphosate which has not been proven to cause cancer, birth defects and other human illness. Science is on the side of NON-GMO’s. See the work of Huber, Seralini, Zobioli, Andersen and Krueger.

  21. This is a vital public health issue; one that both conservatives and liberals, democrats and republicans can agree upon and join together to eventually put a stop to the contamination of our food. Recent studies prove GMO foods are truly toxic foreign material causing cancer in laboratory animals, hardly “essentially the same” as contented by the biotech industry. As a physician boarded in public health and as an agricultural educator, I can, without hesitation, say that GMO foods are the greatest threat ever to befall humankind. Not one claim for GMO’s has come true; they require more water and energy to grow, they yield less, they reduce cattle health and productivity when consumed. We already have the technology using appropriate nutritional and farm management practices to solve our food and environmental problems. We don’t need to genetically engineer anything to feed the world. Also, GMO’s have increased the use of pesticides, particularly glyphosate which has been proven to cause cancer, birth defects and other human illness. Science is on the side of NON-GMO’s. See the work of Huber, Seralini, Zobioli, Andersen and Krueger.

  22. Dear Foodbabe: well done for attending the convention and getting into people’s faces. Some Americans understand that the issue of GMOs is a critical one, others don’t probably because they still think large corporations would never do anything to harm the public or because they are ignorant or because the listen too much to Fox News and think that America has too much regulation as it is. Bill Clinton did not answer you because it was under his presidency that the United States tried to corner the world’s market for food via Monsanto, Cargill, and others. The effort failed, but they really tried and Bill cannot own up to it now because it would make him look terrible for having tried to bully other countries into accepting Monsanto’s products before they were fully and independently tested.
    However, the real problem in America is the systemic corruption of our elected officials in Washington and state capitals via their need for election campaign fund-raising, which can only be effectively accomplished by soliciting large donors. Until there is sweeping and fundamental election-campaign finance reform, absolutely nothing of any significant value to the American people as a whole will ever take place. Labeling is a major issue to people smart enough to understand the danger of GMOs but it is a minor issue to people trying to keep their (elected) jobs.
    So, please add your energies and enthusiasm and great personality to promoting a solution to the country’s bedrock problem.

    1. Well said, Peter. I would also add MSNBC as a “news” organization focused more on a political agenda than reporting of facts.

  23. You are amazing! I bookmarked this blog post several weeks ago because I really wanted to be fully present when I read it. I’ve been dealing with some gastrointestinal health issues and I believe that quality real whole foods have been extremely helpful in managing it. I applaud your efforts to bring awareness about the need and right of the people to know what is in our foods. I’m sure you must feel like David, please keep up the good fight! There are many, many people on your side!

  24. Food Babe,

    Just discovered your website, and wow! As previous people have commented, Change Is Coming. (I feel it in my bones), so keep up the good work of the people! You truly are an inspiration. It just occurred to me, so much so that I felt compelled to write —- who is getting Just Label It support from Farmer’s?

    I’m a Nebraska girl born & raised living in Los Angeles six years now, and I wonder (thank you Food Inc.!), what about the Farmer’s? What about the people actually growing the food? Should they be converted (against GMO or at the very least labeling it), what would that look like? I believe one strategically placed (well produced) commercial will move the mountain. Imagine a 30-second spot showing concerned citizens (us) and the actual people growing the food (Farmer’s of America & FFA: Future Farmer’s of America) BOTH wanting to know Why Are We Being Kept In The Dark?

    When average citizen Joe sees this kind of message in the middle of his favorite TV show, feels caught off guard AND uninformed (seeing is believe after all) … I envision internal dialogue to go something like; “Hey wait a freakin’ minute. Why ARE we being kept in the dark? If the farmer’s think there could be something wrong with GMOs, and all these groups are protesting it …. wait a minute. There’s no freakin’ way some giant corporation is going to control ME!

    Feeling like her back is against the wall, Jane average citizen goes to the internet to investigate what the hell is going on. (and thanks to hard working people like you she’s going to find a wealth of truth) She comes across information about children in France don’t eat GMO food. She finds out which people in her government support Just Label It! and which don’t. Jane feels like she’s getting pushed around —– and decides to speak up.

    With Jane & Joe on our side, the farmer’s and powerful right to know organizations —– how could we be stopped?

    Rhonda

  25. Way to go, Ms. Food Babe! Unfortunately, both political parties are more concerned about their special interest lobbyists/contributors than the American people. It is easier for citizens to effect change on a local and state level than the federal level and that is why there has been a tremendous expansion of the federal power in the last 40-50 years. These congressional reps (for the most part) have sold out for their personal financial gain…most have million dollar “consulting” jobs waiting for them if they choose to leave office or are voted out.

    To effect change, the voters must start electing candidates who run on an ideal of smaller federal government/more personal liberty…usually these candidates are independent/libertarian.

    We need to stop drinking the red or blue kool-aid the Dems and Reps are peddling and hold our politicians’ feet to the fire for our health and our nation’s health.

  26. Just discovered your site. I look forward to more posts about GMO’s. Shame Prop 37 didn’t pass. I’m glad you’re advocating for change. We need change!

  27. I just have to comment and tell you I laughed aloud at Clinton’s comment. Seemed very typical of him to avoid giving a direct answer 🙂 Love your blog!

  28. I want to ask Michelle Obama why she isn’t trying to keep GMO food out of our school cafeterias if she is so worried about the health of children!!!

  29. Here’s how pro-food labeling I am: Food should have to list every chemical and pesticide in it. I think food labeling needs to go waaaaaaay beyond where we are now. GMOs should definitely be labeled, but let’s not stop there. “Artificial Colors”? Sorry, not good enough. List every one of them. How can you just say “flavors” on a package. Tell me what they are!
    Apples in the produce section? List every pesticide sprayed on them. An apple isn’t just an apple. An apple is an apple plus every pesticide sprayed on it. We have a right to know what is going into our bodies.
    People are railing against Bloomberg for saying New Yorkers can’t have giant sodas. They SHOULD be rallying the troops to get stricter labeling of food. Having Freedom means having the tools to know what choices you are making when you make them. Everything should be labeled.
    If a can is lined with BPA, that should be labeled. The chemicals in the can are ending up as ingredients in the food.
    A smart consumer is the best consumer. But the big food companies, and Monsanto don’t want us to be smart soncumers. They want us to be dumb blind fools who buy anything in a pretty box that is sweet, salty or fatty.

  30. What are your qualifications to speak on these topics, other than being emotionally involved and tapped into the media? Does taking a photo op with Jared Leto make you more credible?

    1. Sastribling – If you can not see the importance/truth/significance of these real issues … Then you are like the millions of Americans who are sleeping ! Food babe is qualified in speaking the truth !!! And fights for our rights as humans and consumers.

      1. So, is speaking the truth a qualification from a nationally accredited college? Does it come with a background education of natural sciences that are at the base of knowledge that we derived GMOs from in the first place? Does it involve knowing how GMOs are produced, how genetic material is modified, or what genetic material even looks like? Does it involve careful analysis and understanding of not only the subject material pulled from these scientific peer reviewed papers, but also how the statistics are used and processed by the researchers?

        Or is it more of a “well, seems legit” kind of a thing?

  31. You are a true inspiration. Thank you for dedicating your time to these extremely significant issues ! What chance do our children have if we don’t make changes now.

  32. hi Vani, how are you doing? how is your day going so far? as for mew i am okay. i was wondering what link you are talking about. i can not find it. can you help me out?

    thanks,
    Grace

  33. You are truly inspiring. Keep up the awesome work!!! I love reading these posts (:

  34. What a great site this is. I was beginning to feel like no one was really interested in what is going on with GMO”s. At least not our government. Thank you for your loyalty to us as concerned Americans and I look forward to seeing more. United we stand!!!!!

  35. I took petitions for Proposition 37 to my neighbors who did not know the term GMO. They signed, and the proposition went on the ballot. In October, a massive TV campaign was staged and Proposiion 37 was turned down in the election. A battle was lost, but the war is not over, yet.

  36. Howdy, basically grow to be tuned in to your current weblog via Yahoo and google, and located it is really useful. I will be going to be watchful for belgium’s capital. I will enjoy if you happen to carry on this particular in future. Some people is usually had good results from your writing. All the best!

  37. Food Babe – what can I do as a resident in the State of FL to help? Can you point me in the right direction to start getting involved?

  38. Why don’t you try to get Mrs. Obama to be an advocate for GMO labeling? It seems like something that would interest her. And the way to a man is through his wife!

  39. Thanks so much for being our voice. You said that when you talked to Chuck Todd, NBC News White House Correspondent responded “Get people talking about GMOs and I will.”

    I think if we can start a momentum of everyone sending him phone calls or emails… maybe he WILL do a story, you have your Army, and the army can share on their facebook pages and we can rock this thing! I looked for his contact info and only could find this… http://www.nbcnews.com/id/17814579/ns/nbc_nightly_news_with_brian_williams-about_us/t/chuck-todd/#.Ut7DDGTTnw4 but am thinking we can send emails/letters directly to NBC news… and the same goes for Chris Matthews!

    My life has been so much better since I have started using organic products and eating pure foods…. thank you for your guidance

  40. My huge concern as a teacher is what are children are eating in school lunches. I personally would not feed that food to anyone in my family. The horrible packaging in plastics and aluminum foil not to mention canned food is enough. The kids get chocolate milk everyday, GMOS, BPA…………..HEALTHY LUNCHES, REALLY? Regulated nutrition? I propose that parents boycott school lunches until changes are made. Please protect your children from these processed lunches!

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