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NEW PALTZ – About 350 people took
to the streets Saturday afternoon in New Paltz, marching downtown and
briefly blocking traffic. They were the Hudson Valley contingent of March
Against Monsanto, fighting for genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling
of so-called artificially engineered "frankenfood."
Organizers said the event totaled two million participants worldwide,
rallying in 52 countries and 436 cities.
At least one New Paltz cop was perplexed, having never heard of genetically
modified organisms, or the controversy surrounding their gradual introduction
into the food supply. Motorists caught in the sudden protest gridlock;
however, cheered the activists on, honking their horns in support.
rallied in New Paltz against GMOs (Photo: Roberto LoBianco)
"People are rising up, they're waking up, they realize that these
genetically modified foods are bad for our health, they're killing out
environment," said Barbara Upton, one of the local organizers. "We
want them labeled to begin with in New York State, and we're pushing for
that," she said.
"But eventually we want them banned, because they really have no
place in our lives, they're creating havoc and we have to get rid of them,"
"We won't stand for our food supply to be contaminated by Monsanto
and their nasty GMO crops," agreed co-organizer Beth Dulay.
Monsanto's GMO foods contain genetic modifications, such as built-in pesticides,
which have been blamed for colony collapse disorder of worldwide honey
bee populations. “Frankenfoods” such as GMO corn currently
comprise 80 percent of the breakfast cereal market.
GMO pollen has been proven to cross-pollinate non-GMO crops. Monsanto's
response to the genetic bleeding of their products has been taking other
farmers to court for "patent infringement."
A revolving door between Monsanto's corporate structure and the US Food
and Drug Administration has resulted in lax to non-existent regulation
of these experimental life forms in the worldwide food supply, opponents
say. Studies have shown GMO corn makes insect stomachs explode, they maintain.
Labeling of GMOs is forbidden in the United States, but mandatory in China.
GMOs are banned in Russia and several other countries, including France,
and most recently Peru and Argentina.
Previously, Monsanto produced deadly polychlorinated biphenals (PCBs),
which were found to be carcinogenic and removed from the market. Another
discontinued chemical from Monsanto was Bovine Growth Hormone (r-BGH),
which was pervasive in the milk supply but forced out of existence due
to product labeling.
Monsanto is the subject of several muckraking documentaries, including
"The World According to Monsanto."