By Jeffrey M. Smith
You may have heard that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe, properly tested, and necessary to feed a hungry world. UNTRUE! Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), introduced into our food supply in the mid-1990s, are one of history’s most dangerous and radical changes in our diet. These largely unregulated ingredients are in about 70% of the foods in the US, but are well worth efforts to avoid them.
Fortunately, the Institute for Responsible Technology has launched The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America, designed to eliminate GMOs from the nation’s food supply. The strategy is to achieve a “tipping point,” in which a sufficient number of shoppers in the US avoid GM ingredients, making their use a marketing liability for food companies.
Informed European Shoppers Say No to GMOs
Europe reached the tipping point in April 1999 and within a single week, virtually all major manufacturers publicly committed to stop using GM ingredients in their European brands. The European rejection of GMOs was spawned by widespread coverage of the health risks, a topic that the US media has consistently avoided.
Americans therefore know so little about this subject, only 1 in 4 are aware that they have ever eaten a GM food in their lives. Thus, the same companies that carefully avoid GM ingredients for concerned Europeans are happy to sell GMOs to unknowing consumers in the US.
The Campaign to Move the Market
The fact that GMOs flourish in the US because of ignorance leaves the biotech industry extremely vulnerable. If some campaign or event were to push this issue above the national radar screen, consumer reaction could force a Euro-style retreat from GMOs. How many of us would have to reject brands that contain GMOs to reach this tipping point? Even 5 percent of shoppers, or 15 million Americans, would likely be more than enough. When marketing executives at top companies see the drop in market share and the emergence of a trend, kicking out GMOs will be a natural reaction. After all, the brands don’t gain anything from using them. Their foods aren’t fresher, tastier, or healthier. The two major traits in GM crops are herbicide tolerance, which allows farmers to spray herbicide on the crops without killing them, and pesticide production, in which the crops produce an insect-killing toxin in every cell.
So how do we inspire enough consumers to avoid GM brands? Do the math. Already, 29 percent of Americans are strongly opposed to GM foods and believe they are unsafe. That represents about 87 million people. But even among the 28 million Americans who regularly buy organic (and therefore non-GMO) food, many do not conscientiously avoid GM ingredients in their non-organic purchases; they usually don’t know how. By educating health-conscious shoppers about GM food dangers and providing clear choices, brands without GM ingredients will have the clear advantage. As millions begin to make brand choices based on GMO content, it is just a matter of time before the food industry responds.
To speed this transition, the Campaign targets demographic groups that will readily make changes to their diets and are large enough to inspire a national non-GMO tidal wave: Health-Conscious Consumers, Parents and Schools, Faith-Based Groups, Healthcare Professionals and their Patients, and chefs. It is possible to end GMOs without ever having to convince resistant people. We have more than enough wanting to know the truth, and willing to change the brands for their families. In fact, most Americans (53%) say they would avoid GMOs if they were labeled.
While the Obama Administration has not fulfilled their campaign pledge to label GMOs, the Campaign is helping consumers make better choices with their Non-GMO Shopping Guide (co-published with the Center for Food Safety). See www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.
The tipping point strategy is already being demonstrated in the US with GM bovine growth hormone (rbGH). A coalition of organizations informed consumers about the health risks of rbGH, and its link to cancer. As a result, most of America’s dairies and suppliers like Wal- Mart, Starbucks, Kroger, Yoplait, and Dannon, chose to produce and distribute milk products without this dangerous hormone.
Go to www.ResponsibleTechnology.org, become a member of the Campaign, and explore the compelling educational materials and strategies that can help you easily get the word out to your friends and community. Let’s accelerate the end of the genetic engineering of our food supply for ourselves, and for future generations.
To learn more about the health dangers of GMOs, and what you can do to help end the genetic engineering of our food supply, visit www.ResponsibleTechnology.org.
To learn how to choose healthier non-GMO brands, visit www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.
International bestselling author and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods. His first book, Seeds of Deception, is the world’s bestselling and #1 rated book on the topic. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, provides overwhelming evidence that GMOs are unsafe and should never have been introduced. Mr. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, whose Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to create the tipping point of consumer rejection of GMOs, forcing them out of our food supply.
Take Action Now by visiting http://ga3.org/campaign/alfalfaEIS2 and tell the USDA to Protect Organic Farmers, and All Farmers Who Wish to Choose, to Grow Non-GE Crops.
 Public Sentiment About Genetically Modified Food (2006 update). The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, December 2006, http://pewagbiotech.org/polls/
 “Hot New Consumer and Retail Trends,” The Natural Marketing Institute, Presented at Expo West, March 24, 2006
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