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Americans Stage Protest over Genetically Modified Foods

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TEHRAN, March 27 (ICANA) – The movement for labeling genetically modified foods is growing as was illustrated in protests held in at least 20 cities throughout the US this past Saturday.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:40:46 AM
Americans Stage Protest over Genetically Modified Foods

In Washington, protesters gathered outside the White House to vocalize their demand for the right to know if the foods they purchase are genetically modified.

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs as they are often known, are food products that have been altered at the genetic level. Scientists say GMOs are necessary, because the increased food production that comes with it is needed for the rising human population. And even though no large-scale study has shown any negative effects of GMOs on people, many are still concerned about possible long-term adverse health affects.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, genetically modified foods are considered safe and therefore not requiring labeling. They are extensively researched and regulated, and in 1992 the FDA decided that GMOs were no different from conventional foods. But according to these protesters, a growing body of evidence shows that this is not the case.

One corporation that has fought hard to keep GMO labels from being placed on food products is Monsanto. A very powerful agricultural biotechnology corporation, Monsanto patents and sells genetically modified seeds. According to its website, “Individuals who make a personal decision not to consume food containing GM ingredients can easily avoid such products. In the U.S., they can purchase products that are certified as organic under the National Organic Program. They can also buy products which companies have voluntarily labeled as not containing GM ingredients.”

But according to protesters, even foods labeled organic cannot be guaranteed GMO-free.

Although at least six European countries have banned all GMOs and countless others require by law that GMOs be labeled, the United States has no such legislation. Many protesters here believe that is because corporations like Monsanto have a very strong presence in the federal government and give generously to many politicians.

Though more Americans are raising their voices against powerful corporations like Monsanto, protesters believe it will take a large movement to counter the lobbying of agribusiness and keep the centuries-old small farming industry from being driven into extinction.

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