GE Labeling Debate Heats Up In Illinois: Monsanto Corporate Profile Released
Last Wednesday, April 3, Food & Water Watch along with the Illinois Student Environmental Coalition and Beverly Unitarian Church released Monsanto: A Corporate Profile in Illinois with a press conference at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, in conjunction with their campaign to pass Illinois Senate Bill 1666 and House Bill 3085—bills that would require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The report outlines Monsanto’s history and its undue influence over lawmakers, regulators, academic research and consumers.
“Monsanto and other agribusiness corporations have spent millions to block grassroots efforts to pass legislation to label genetically engineered foods here in Illinois and across the country,” said Emily Carroll, Midwest Region Director with Food & Water Watch. “We are releasing this report today to demonstrate what kind of undue power Monsanto has over state and federal government…we urge the Illinois General Assembly to stand up to Monsanto and other agribusiness lobbyists and instead represent the interests of their constituents by passing real laws that require the labeling of genetically engineered food.
The new report provides a thorough overview of the biotechnology giant that now holds 1,676 patents on seeds, plants and other agricultural applications. Monsanto’s products are grown on over 282 million acres worldwide, including 40 percent of all U.S. crop acreage.
“We are working toward one thing,” says Kimberly Rowan, Executive Director of the Illinois Student Environmental Coalition, “[A] transparent, socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable food system that builds community, and celebrates culture and regional diversity. But Monsanto is working against us… If Monsanto is going to fight us over labeling Genetically Engineered foods, -over knowing what we’re eating… then they don’t really fit into the new vision of what our food system should look like, and what students have been working so hard toward.”
What can you as an individual do to further this legislation along and take action?
For anyone interested in the politics and history behind the Monsanto Protection Act, Al Jazeera has a great interview with Tom Philpott of Mother Jones and Colin O’Neil the Director of Government Affairs at The Center for Food Safety, worth the watch, very informative!!!!
Here is a blog post on what you need to know about GMO/GE Foods by http://healthyeatingrocks.com/2012/07/06/what-you-need-to-know-about-gmos/ by Carole Bartolotto who had been on a National Panel charged with setting policy on GE/GMO foods. Why isn’t she on the panel anymore, read the NYT piece here… http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/business/a-dismissal-raises-questions-about-objectivity-on-food-policy.html?src=recg