NEW PALTZ – About 350 people took to the streets Saturday afternoon in New Paltz, marching downtown and briefly blocking traffic. They were the Hudson Valley contingent of March Against Monsanto, fighting for genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling of so-called artificially engineered "frankenfood."
At least one New Paltz cop was perplexed, having never heard of genetically modified organisms, or the controversy surrounding their gradual introduction into the food supply. Motorists caught in the sudden protest gridlock; however, cheered the activists on, honking their horns in support.
"People are rising up, they're waking up, they realize that these genetically modified foods are bad for our health, they're killing out environment," claimed Barbara Upton, one of the local organizers. "We want them labeled to begin with in New York State, and we're pushing for that," she said.
"But eventually we want them banned, because they really have no place in our lives, they're creating havoc and we have to get rid of them," Upton said.
"We won't stand for our food supply to be contaminated by Monsanto and their nasty GMO crops," agreed co-organizer Beth Dulay.
Monsanto's GMO foods contain genetic modifications, such as built-in pesticides, which have been blamed for colony collapse disorder of worldwide honey bee populations. “Frankenfoods” such as GMO corn currently comprise 80 percent of the breakfast cereal market.
GMO pollen has been proven to cross-pollinate non-GMO crops. Monsanto's response to the genetic bleeding of their products has been taking other farmers to court for "patent infringement."
A revolving door between Monsanto's corporate structure and the US Food and Drug Administration has resulted in lax to non-existent regulation of these experimental life forms in the worldwide food supply, opponents say. Studies have shown GMO corn makes insect stomachs explode, they maintain.
Labeling of GMOs is forbidden in the United States, but mandatory in China. GMOs are banned in Russia and several other countries, including France, and most recently Peru and Argentina.
Previously, Monsanto produced deadly polychlorinated biphenyl’s (PCBs), which were found to be carcinogenic and removed from the market. Another discontinued chemical from Monsanto was Bovine Growth Hormone (r-BGH), which was pervasive in the milk supply but forced out of existence due to product labeling.
Monsanto is the subject of several muckraking documentaries, including "The World According to Monsanto."