Thanks to everyone that registered and attended the first Millions Against Monsanto Webinar: Why We Need Truth-in-Labeling for GMOs and Factory-Farmed Foods. The event was filled to capacity, with 1000 people registered. If you missed the webinar, you can download a pdf of the PowerPoint presentation here and take a look at some of great questions asked by attendees below. The presentation frames the source and severity of the problem and outlines the various action items you can take in your towns and congressional districts. The audio portion will also be available from this page in the next few days. Stay tuned for the next webinar, which will take you through more of the "nuts-and-bolts" of the grassroots campaign against GMOs.
Download PDF of Webinar Presentation
Listen and/or download MP3s of theWebinar Presentation (right-click the link and click "Save As.." to download the MP3s):
We got a ton of really good questions that, unfortunately, could not all be answered during the webinar presentation. Here are some of the best ones:
So is the goal [of the Truth-in-Labeling Campaign] is NOT political, it's market-based?
We are trying to get groceries and health food stores to do the right thing and label GMO products. We believe if the consumer can easily identify foods that have likely been made with GMOs, they will stop buying them. This will lead to stores taking them off their shelves. We are, however, also going to continue to apply public pressure for mandatory labeling at the congressional and state levels.
I think you/we would have to show the stores that it would be to their advantage that putting these GMO labels up would be in their best interest. We need to show them that they could make more money on the non GMO foods.
Exactly, and that they will lose money on GMO products once consumers have a choice in avoiding GMO foods. Right now, they have no choice, as there is no way to tell which products contain GMOs. Labeling will rectify this.
Have we given up on the Federal level? If it can be stopped there with labeling mandated, it will affect all stores. Is this a lost cause?
Although we do not believe that it is a lost cause, efforts to further regulate GMOs by Congressman Kucinich have been consecutively voted down since 2003. We will continue to support these efforts but believe that the most successful approach will be market pressure on stores and local initiatives such as Hawaii's H.B. 1534, the GMO Truth-in-Labeling Bill.
Do you know the number of the bill from Rep. Kucinich?
There are currently three bills regarding GMOs:
- Genetically Engineered Food Safety Act, H.R. 6635
- Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, H.R. 6636
- Genetically Engineered Technology Farmer Protection Act, H.R. 6637
You can download informational leaflets and the "Oh No! Is it GMO?" stickers from the Millions Against Monsanto website: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/downloads.cfm
Are MAM bumper stickers available?
Yes! and T-shirts! Order here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Monsantoshirt.cfm
Regarding gathering petitions via Facebook. Are there instructions on how to do that somewhere?
Yes, a detailed set of instructions on how to form a Facebook Truth-in-Labeling Cause/Chapter can be found here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22536.cfm
Once you have created a Cause/Chapter, click "home" and there will be a place to add petitions to the Cause. You can also promote OCA's petitions directly by sending this link to other Cause members and other people on Facebook: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/action.cfm
Is there anybody in Cowliz County WA who is working on this?
Please check here to see if there is a Facebook Cause for your district. If not, set one up! Instructions here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22536.cfm
Are we allowed to use the MAM logo?
Yes, please do. It helps promote the whole campaign. Download logos here: http://organicconsumers.org/logos.cfm
I understand that the "organic" label now can legally contain 5% GMO's and still be called "organic."
This is not true. Under the USDA's National Organic Program, organic standards prohibit GM organisms, seeds or ingredients.
8. What would you suggest for low-income families to do right away? Organic products are expensive!
Organic doesn't have to break your bank! Please see Jennifer Grayson's article on eating well on a budget here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22643.cfm
Obviously growing food in our own gardens is an important way to take responsibility with our health and nutrition. Yes, there is the danger of having one's yard contaminated by neighboring yards if they are using GMO seeds....but even more now, with the CETA agreement coming to Canada, seeds are going to be regulated and soon I am afraid it will be impossible to buy non-GMO seed. What can we do about that? It is a time sensitive matter and I don't know that we can stop our single-minded government.
I don't have any info on the CETA agreement in Canada - definitely alarming - but I do know that there are a lot of companies that do offer non-GMO and organic seed. OCA recommends dealing with these companies whenever possible. Here's a guide on how to avoid Monsanto and GMO seeds and find organic, heirloom, open-pollinated varieties: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21049.cfm
And here are some listings, organized by state, from the OCA/Greenpeople directory: http://organicconsumers.org/state/greenbiz.cfm?all=VegetableSeed
One possible option is to get non-GMO seeds, and learn how to save them to use year after year. You can even trade seeds with your friends and neighbors.
When someone is in favor of corn for ethanol, how do we respond to them when they tell us that it will reduce the oil imports?
Tell them that although it may reduce oil imports, it is driving world food prices up and causing many farmers and poor people to starve. There are other ways to reduce oil imports - such as relying more heavily on non-food based alternative energy sources - that won't starve and impoverish people. Also, the corn that is grown for ethanol is mostly genetically engineered, but just because it's not for human dietary consumption doesn't mean it won't cause problems.
Can you speak to how Monsanto lobbying/business/political power has been used against the interests of American people?
You often hear of the "revolving door" between the private sector and the government. Many prior lobbyists, lawyers and policy makers at Monsanto are currently serving in Obama's administration. For a complete run-down please see Monsanto's Government Ties http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/government-ties.cfm
Can you clarify what we are asking the stores to do? Offer more organics? Label their non-gmo food? Anything else?
We are asking stores to label foods that may contain GMOs - these are almost all so called "natural" foods that contain non-organic corn, soy or canola and all foods that come from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) where animals have been fed GMO feed.
We are always asking that stores carry more 100% certified organic products - the only sure way to avoid GMO content. Take action or download petitions here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/action.cfm
Can store owners have you arrested for stickering food?
Yes, there was a famous case of a grandmother getting arrested for "guerilla stickering". If you do not feel comfortable sticking labels on products in the store, you can stick them on products at your home, your friends' homes, your parents' home, etc. Unfortunately, GMOs are everywhere. You can sticker your own products and then take examples back to the store to discuss the issue with your grocer. Sometimes it helps to have visual aids like this to get your point across. Download and print stickers here: http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/oh-no-gmo-labels.pdf
What if both of our state representatives are against labeling and our right to know?
This is why we are putting market pressure on stores and asking them to voluntarily label GMO and CAFO products. This way we do not have to rely on indentured politicians or the biotech industry to do the right thing. Also, the more petition signatures we gather, the more we build up the members involved in this campaign and the chapters in each area, the more of a force to be reckoned with we all become. We are hoping to build up the campaign to one million people by October 16th, World Food Day, and really raise a ruckus. Larger groups of people can put more pressure on government AND retailers and effect some real change. Learn more and join the campaign here: www.millionsagainstmonsanto.org