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GMOs: Time for Truth in Labeling?

Sometimes it seems as though GMOs are a tidal wave that will eventually wash over and obliterate any vestiges of organic growing in America. In January, the Obama Administration surprised and disappointed many supporters of organic food when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack okayed the planting of genetically altered alfalfa without restrictions. Little more than a week later, the green light was given to Monsanto's GE sugar beets. To some people, it signaled the beginning of the end for organics in America.

However, the organic industry continues to fight back. In March, a group of organic farmers and food activists, with the help of the not-for-profit law center The Public Patent Foundation, turned the tables on Monsanto. They sued the agricultural giant, which has a history of taking farmers to court for patent infrigement when Monsanto's GE seeds drift onto the farmers' lands. The activists hope that their lawsuit will put an end to Monsanto's "patent infringement" cases.

Another area where consumers are starting to make themselves heard is in the area of labeling food products that contain GMOs.If you believe several polls that have been taken on this issue, somewhere around 90% of Americans want labels on GMO food. The Non-GMO Project is North America's only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products.(The European Union already requires labels on GE foods.) And now the Organic Consumers Association, is calling attention to the fact that "the overwhelming majority of non-organic processed foods currently sold in the U.S. contain unlabeled Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) derived from GE soybeans, corn, canola, sugar beets, cottonseed oil, or growth hormones."

Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director of the OCA, just made a shopping trip to the Whole Foods Market at 1550 N. Kingsbury Street in Chicago. On Tuesday, she will dumpher purchases in front of that store in an effort to get the nation's grocers to voluntarily adopt Truth-in-Labeling practices for non-organic foods sold in their stores.

She is also appearing at 5th annual Chicago Green Festival, which is in its second and final day at McCormick Place.Some highlights include:

• Twelve thematic Pavilion/Stages areas including the Main Stage, Mother Earth News Pavilion, Green Business Pavilion, Green Building & Renewable Energy Pavilion, Fair Trade Pavilion, Green Living Stage, Sustainable Home & Organic Gardening Pavilion, Green Kids Zone, Community Action Pavilion, Yoga & Movement, Music Stage and Green Cinema.
• Organic Food Court with Local Restaurants and the Organic Beer & Wine Garden
• Green Festival's Café and Store