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Keep Your Frankenfood Outta My Publix (or at Least Label It, Please): Protesters Rally Against Genetically Modified Foods

Trish Sheldon of GMO Free Florida and Alyse Opatowski of Food and Water Watch lead protesters in "Rally for the Right to Know."
Trish Sheldon of GMO Free Florida and Alyse Opatowski of Food and Water Watch lead protesters in "Rally for the Right to Know."
Photo by Sara Ventiera

Despite stormy weather Friday afternoon, as part of Occupy Monsanto's Global Week of Action, a group of individuals turned out for the national endeavor to require mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in foods. The protesters are hoping to garner support for a California initiative -- Proposition 37 -- that will require labeling of GMO foods. The initiative is scheduled for the November ballot.

Organized by GMO Free Florida and Food & Water Watch, the local "Rally for the Right to Know" took place in front of Fort Lauderdale's BM Organics Market. 

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Clean Plate Charlie spoke to GMO-Free Florida's Trish Sheldon about the group's goals. "We're hopeful that Prop 37 will happen in November. If it passes, it will pave the way for the rest of the country. We're working to get an initiative on our 2013 ballot in Florida. It's going to take a lot of awareness to make that happen. That's why we're out here. We have a right to know what's in our food."

Sheldon's group has joined forces with other groups in an attempt to garner more support. According to Alyse Opatowski of Food & Water Watch, "We just had our kick-off meeting Wednesday to launch our 'Let Me Decide' campaign urging [state] Sen. Eleanor Sobel to champion a bill requiring labeling on all food. We had over 40 people who were active and excited to take this to the next level."

The two groups originally joined forces over the possible use of genetically modified mosquitoes as a means to curb native mosquito populations and the spread of dengue fever in the Florida Keys. After the mosquito scare, Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch moved its teams to Florida cities to work on the GMO food issue.

Sheldon says, "Fifty countries have banned or required mandatory labeling of GMO foods -- even China. Why don't we in the U.S.? Nine out of ten people, when polled, state that they don't want to eat genetically engineered foods, but they're not even aware that they eat it three times a day in packaged and processed foods. We should have a choice whether or not we eat these potentially harmful foods that lack adequate long-term safety studies."

Both groups will hold a meeting Tuesday at 6:30 at BM Organics (4861 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale). For more information, email Trish Sheldon at trish@gmofreefl.com or Alyse Opatowski at aopatowski@fwwlocal.org.



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