Activists to Prepare & Share "Stone Soup" to Protest FDA's Antiquated Policies on Genetically Engineered (GMO) Foods
COLLEGE PARK, Md., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Occupy-Monsanto.com:
Alarmed by the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) outdated and pro-biotechnology industry policies concerning the labeling & safety of genetically engineered foods sold in America, safe food activists are organizing the largest protest to date at the FDA to demand immediate policy changes. On Monday, April 8, concerned citizens traveling as far away as the Midwest will descend on the FDA for a day-long "Eat-In" outside the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition located at 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740. Organic farmers and backyard gardeners will bring organically-grown vegetables from their region that will be combined in a huge cooking pot to make a special, GMO-free "Stone Soup" that will be eaten by activists as a picnic-style protest outside of the FDA.
"The fable of 'Stone Soup' has been rewritten many times throughout history and will be rewritten once again on April 8," says Tom Llewellyn, a lead organizer with the REAL Cooperative in Asheville, NC. "One version of the 'Stone Soup' tale is about a hungry soldier who, when passing through an impoverished village, announced that he would make 'Stone Soup' for everyone in town. The promise of this mysterious 'Stone Soup' persuaded people in the small village to pool their resources and offer up their hidden onions, carrots, lettuce, and spices to feed everyone. With all food activists and citizens working together, a greater good can be achieved by forcing changes in the way huge food corporations source ingredients and the way our government regulates food safety," says Llewellyn.
"There have been 'Be-Ins' and 'Sit-Ins' but there has never been an 'Eat-In' in the history of the FDA," says Adam Eidinger, spokesman for Occupy-Monsanto.com. "Safe food activists will be chowing down to demand that the FDA issue regulations that require mandatory labels for all foods in America that were produced using biotechnology, to reject the approval of the genetically engineered AquaBounty™ salmon, for former Monsanto Company lobbyist Michael Taylor to resign from his Obama-appointed position at the FDA, and for the White House to answer the multiple "We The People" petitions on GMO labeling that have gone unanswered for over a year."
WHO: Safe Food Activists, Students, Farmers, and Concerned Citizens
WHAT: "Eat-In" at the FDA for GMO Food Labeling and Food Democracy
WHERE: Sidewalk outside of the Food And Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway College Park, MD 20740 – Across the street from the College Park Metro Station (Green Line)
WHEN: All day, Monday, April 8 from 8am until Sunset (6pm)
"I can't grow food very well at my house, so I am going to bring bowls and spoons so others may enjoy the 'Stone Soup,'" says Erica Madrid with GMO Free DC. In order to prevent waste from landfill-bound single-serving containers, safe food activists without organic produce to share can still take part in the "Stone Soup" by providing others with reusable pantry items like bowls, cups, spoons, and forks to enjoy the picnic protest.
"Last month the Supreme Court listened to arguments about how Monsanto allowed its patented GMOs to commingle & contaminate grain elevators across America," says Gene, an anonymous Occupy Monsanto activist, concerning Bowman v. Monsanto, a Supreme Court case that pitted the agrochemical giant against a 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer. "Hugh Bowman was accused of infringing two soybean patents held by Monsanto, so why aren't those two soybean patents listed on food labels that contain those patented soybeans?"
Nearly 93% of all soybeans grown in America contain man-made, patented genes owned by a very small number of agrochemical companies that the FDA passively oversees. Instead of conducting rigorous independent analyses of patented GMO crops that make up Americas food supply, the FDA has relied on short-term industry studies that were written for profit, not food safety. In a January 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal, Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant stated the corporation was open to the FDA allowing GMO labeling, but only if it was done scientifically. "What is more scientific than a patent listing," asks Emma Hutchens of the REAL Cooperative. "The FDA says that GMOs are not materially different than their non-GMO counterpart, but if the plants are patented there must be a material difference, otherwise there would be no need for a patent. They can't have it both ways."
In 2011 and 2012 over a million Americans signed the "Just Label It" FDA petition for GMO labeling, but the FDA has responded with silence. "The Food and Drug Administration is not listening to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want honest food labels," says Emilianne Slaydon, founder of GMO Free DC. "We have signed numerous petitions but we've received no response. We only want the same food labels citizens of over 40 countries enjoy, so we are going to enjoy some 'Stone Soup' to demand this simple democratic right."
The deafening silence on GMO labeling reaches to President Obama's White House as well. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 President Obama's White House also failed to respond to two "We The People" petitions on the White House website that reached the required signature threshold for a response. On September 23, 2011, on the second day after the "We The People" petitioning microsite was launched, the first GMO labeling petition was created. It has received over 36,000 signatures and has not received a response, while a petition on raw milk, which was also created on the very same day, was responded to after only 6,000 signatures. In April of 2012 another GMO labeling petition was created and 10 months & over 70,000 signatures later, there is still no response from the White House. In the meantime, the White House has answered three petitions on cannabis legalization, responded to insignificant petitions on issues like building the Death Star and the White House beer recipe, and most recently raised the response threshold to 100,000 signatures.
Last fall over $45 million dollars was spent by the agrichemical businesses and the processed food industry in a lopsided battle to defeat GMO food labels in California. While the voter initiative lost by less than 2% points, over a dozen state legislatures across America have introduced GMO labeling legislation to bypass the FDA's inaction. In February of this year, U.S. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced federal legislation to require mandatory GMO labels, but its currently within the power of the FDA to issue regulations that will provide the honest labels consumers throughout America demand and deserve.
More information at http://Occupy-Monsanto.com