Why We Are Winning the GMO BattleWhat a year! The FDA just approved genetically modified salmon that could wreak havoc in the oceans and damage the health of consumers who eat it. The USDA approved genetically modified potatoes and apples that use double-stranded RNA that might reprogram our DNA if we eat it. The House passed a bill we call the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know) which, if the Senate passes a similar bill, could eliminate the possibility of mandatory labeling nationally or state-by-state. And Monsanto pulled out all the stops to get its propaganda talking points placed in major media around the country throughout the year.
So why am I smiling? Every time I hear one of these news items it reminds me that the strategy that the Institute for Responsible Technology chose to go with was the right one—and on that front we are totally winning.
Let me explain. There are two major categories for GMO activism: containment and elimination. For containment strategies we try to stop the approval of new GMOs or prevent them from being grown in certain regions. We certainly support those efforts, but some we win and some we lose. Case in point: salmon, apples and potatoes.
If you can eliminate GMOS, which is our strategy, you eliminate not only the current GMOs, but you eliminate the introduction of these newly approved GMOs, at least for many years.
So every time I see an approval of salmon, apple, or any new GMO, I think to myself, “We have to move quickly. We have to eliminate the market for GMOs before these new GMOs get introduced.”
Now let me share some very good news. In a recent New York Times article they shared information from the Hartman Group, which is doing consumer research on GMOs. The Times wrote, “Consumers are increasingly looking for information about the presence of genetically modified ingredients in their foods, according to research by the Hartman group.”
“‘The GMO issue is something that continues to be brought up in an unprompted way in our interviews with consumers,’ said Laurie Demeritt, chief executive of Hartman. ‘And when we look for things like fat, sodium and sugar, GMO is showing the strongest growth rate in terms of a characteristic that consumers are trying to avoid.’”
They said that about 58% of consumers are looking for non-GMO food. That’s huge! 184 million Americans are looking for non-GMO food! This is a huge victory. This is the metric we look for. Yes, the salmon and potato approvals were terrible, but the 58% shows that we are winning where it counts: in eliminating the market for GMOs.
Will the food companies continue to use GM ingredients that give no consumer benefit when they start losing large chunks of their market share? Of course not! IRT has been dedicated to behavior change messaging; to get the information out about the health dangers of GMOs, why to avoid GMOs, and how. This is the type of information that needs to be spread now. We need to do it quickly, before the salmon, the apples, and the potatoes are introduced so that we eliminate the market for GMOs. And for that we need your help.
Please make a generous contribution to the Institute for Responsible Technology so that we can convert the 184 million people looking for non-GMOs into committed non-GMO eaters. We know who they are, we know what to say, and we know how to say it. Please make a contribution this year, and if you can, make it automatic so that it continues month after month and we can count on it as we implement our campaigns. Together we will eliminate GMOs and protect our health and all future generations."