In October, publicity over Washington State’s Imitative 522 increased dramatically on both sides of the issue. I-522 aimed to force all food manufactures in the state to label products that contain genetically modified organisms.
Anti-GM activists cried foul when it was discovered that those who oppose I-522 had once again raised more money than those supporting the measure. At one point, the media reported that supporters of I-522 were asking those who opposed it to quit donating money to defeat the bill.
One of the tenets that supporters kept touting for the measure was that consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. The supposition, of course, is that once they know GMOs are in their food, they will not buy it, or better yet, will demand food manufacturers stop using GMO ingredients.
So, with this situation playing out in the media, it was interesting when Green America and GMO Inside held a press conference in October to launch their campaign “No GMO’s, Cheerios!”
Since I was sent an invitation, I decided to listen in to the press conference. What a treasure trove of information. The four speakers ranted about how biotechnology is not a precision science and “shoots” genes into plants at random, the French scientist Seralini’s research is proof positive that GMOs are dangerous for humans, the precautionary principle is best, food companies have too much control over our food and children’s incidence of digestion problems and other issues have been increasing since GMOs were introduced into the country’s food supply. One of the doctors said eating GMOs is eating pesticides because GMOs are pesticides and should be considered as a poison.
No scientific information was offered during the conference, only opinions. Although the two medical doctors that spoke claimed GMOs were responsible for damaging people’s health, they offered no proof of their findings, just somehow knew that illnesses were caused by GMOs.
The press conference got even more interesting when the media were allowed to ask questions. One reporter asked the panelists why they had targeted General Mills and Cheerios in particular insteadof other cereal or food manufacturers. At first they claimed it was because General Mills is the seventh largest food company in the world and because they produce cereals in Europe without GM ingredients.
They argued that since General Mills can do it in Europe they should do it here as well.
But further into the discussion, they also noted that they had chosen Cheerios because it is typically one of the first foods children eat as they graduate to solid food. Then they went back to consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. When asked if the group wanted voluntary or mandatory labeling, the group stressed that they wanted mandatory labeling, and even claimed they had a survey where 93 percent of U.S. consumers said they wanted mandatory labels. Again, no more details to this survey were given.
Finally, when asked about if it wouldn’t be better to work with the FDA on the labeling issue, Elizabeth O’Connell, campaigns director, Green America, admitted that the goal of these groups is to eliminate GMOs from the U.S. food supply, not simply labeling them.
For all of their name calling of General Mills about keeping consumers in the dark and hiding a dirty little secret, these groups have a secret of their own. Their true agenda is not to provide more information to consumers, it’s to eliminate a technology from the world. And they admitted it. Want to hear it? Go to http://www.hastingsgroupmedia.com/GreenAmerica/GMOInsideCheeriosReport.mp3 and listen to the conference for yourself.