Following an explosive and controversial French study indicating a link between Monsanto's controversial genetically engineered corn and cancer, Russian authorities have suspended all imports and use of GMO corn.
And it's not just Russia that's appalled by what's been learned. The French government asked European authorities to "take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health, measures that could go as far as emergency suspension of imports" of GM corn in the entire European Union.
All 15 nations in the European Union already require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, and many countries in Europe restrict or ban the planting of genetically engineered crops. But U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show that the U.S. government has been conspiring to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use GM seeds, by engaging in aggressive trade wars against reluctant nations.
The cables showed that the U.S. government, working with biotech firms, has planned to "retaliate" against those who attempted to stop the spread of GM crops. They recommended causing "pain" in the EU and to be prepared for a prolonged battle.
The U.S. is far and away the world's driving political and agricultural force behind GMOs in the food supply, but even here change is on the horizon. Surveys find that 91 percent of the American public supports the labeling of genetically engineered foods, and that 53 percent of Americans in 2009 said they would choose non-GMO brands if labels gave them a choice.
Monsanto is terrified that the "right to know" through labeling of GMOs could well be a tipping point.
On November 6, Californians will vote on the "right to know" ballot initiative (Proposition 37), which would require labeling of genetically engineered foods in the Golden State.
Because labeling in California would likely lead to labeling nationwide, the stakes are high. Monsanto and the biotech industry are spending many tens of millions of dollars trying to fight Proposition 37 with what many observers call pseudo-studies and scare tactics. But so far, voters aren't buying it. More than two-thirds of California's voters in a recent LA Times poll said they support Proposition 37.
Organizers around the world are rallying around California's Proposition 37 as a point of leverage in the world's GMO struggle. Meanwhile, concern is growing that Monsanto's virtual stranglehold on federal government policy could lead to federal interference if Proposition 37 does pass.
That's why the Food Revolution Network, in partnership with Care2 and its 20 million members, the Institute for Responsible Technology, and many other organizations, has launched a major national petition calling on the U.S. Congress to mandate strong and effective labeling of genetically engineered foods. In an election year, the petition is calling for members of Congress to side with their constituents, instead of with the short-term economic interests of the biotech industry.
Sign the petition here.
Can Americans win the right to know? The stakes are high, but so, too, is the opportunity to make a difference. We're at a turning point that will impact the lives of billions of people now and for generations to come.
Can a company as powerful as Monsanto be stopped? Here are short and extremely powerful statements from GMO experts John Robbins and Andrew Kimbrell on how it can be done:
Ocean Robbins is founder and co-host (with best-selling author John Robbins) of the 40,000 member Food Revolution Network, an initiative to help you heal your body, and your world... with food. Find out more and sign up here.
Still not convinced? See "10 Reasons To Avoid GMOs"