To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I participated in the March Against Monsanto (MAM) event that was held at Park Square in Pittsfield on Saturday, Oct. 12 and written about in The Berkshire Eagle ("Fight to label GMO Foods Growing") the following day. I was pleased that The Eagle covered the story, and I want to add some important points about this increasingly urgent topic.
First, the Pittsfield event was part of a worldwide protest against Monsanto on Oct. 12 that hundreds of thousands of people in cities all over the world participated in. Sixty-four countries have either banned Monsanto’s genetically modified foods (GMOs) or require GMO labeling when used in food production or processing. At the same time, GMOs in the U.S. food supply have become nearly ubiquitous. While U.S. mattress manufacturers must list their ingredients on their labels, there is no such requirement for labeling GMOs in food products. This prevents informed decision making by consumers.
Second, the Eagle article correctly states that "the Food and Drug Administration ... say(s) these foods pose no health risks." What is critical for people to understand is that numerous former Monsanto executives and lobbyists have infiltrated our government and now occupy key positions that impact public food safety. In fact, the FDA’s current deputy commissioner for policy, Michael R. Tyler, previously served as vice president for public policy at Monsanto. And, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas previously worked for Monsanto as an attorney. Simply put, the foxes are guarding the hen house.
Monsanto is gaining increasing control over the world’s food supply by obtaining patents on its genetically modified seeds and exerting massive pressure on farmers to buy its seeds, pesticides, and herbicides. It is a circle of poison and a textbook example of a corporate behemoth putting profits before public safety. It is also a textbook example of the dangers of corporate dominance in our political and legal processes.
Many thanks to state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier for speaking at the Pittsfield event, and for her continuing leadership on this and other critical issues in the commonwealth.
The author holds a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics.