An executive in a major food company mentioned recently that he believes consumers have reached a tipping point on the GMO issue. Wow! I can’t tell you how sweet it was to hear those words. Now that a few executives who follow the issue are starting to name the phenomenon, it will hopefully spread and result in new non-GMO marching orders for the industry. Yet it’s also a time when the biotech industry is scrambling to fight back, so we have to be more vigilant than ever.
To keep up the pressure and accelerate the pace of the coming tipping point, and to better respond to the opportunities of 2013, the 15 members of the IRT team are busily restructuring: We’re preparing to fill new, much needed positions, creating new educational initiatives, starting an internship program, and even redesigning the look and feel of our newsletters, eblasts, and website.
The Salmon Are Calling Us
The biotech industry appears to be responding to the anti-GMO momentum by trying to rush new GMO approvals and stepping up pressure in foreign markets. The highest short-term priority right now is stopping genetically engineered (GE) salmon.
On December 21st, 2012, while most of us were busy with holiday preparations, the FDA moved a step closer to final approval of AquaBounty AquaAdvantage® transgenic salmon, which grow abnormally fast.
They ignored the 40 members of the U.S. Congress who urged the agency to conduct more rigorous review of environmental and health safety of GE salmon and halt any approval process until concerns over risks, transparency and oversight has been fully satisfied. They ignored the 400,000 public comments demanding that the FDA reject this application. And they ignored the more than 300 environmental, consumer, health and animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and associations, food companies, chefs and restaurants who filed joint statements opposing approval.
Approval of salmon would be quite serious. Not only could it cause potentially deadly allergic reactions and other serious problems, if they escape confinement, the frankenfish threaten to wipe out Wild Salmon. Furthermore, approval could open the floodgates to other GE animals, forever transforming livestock and wild populations with unknown health and environmental risks.
If you purchase Bertram Verhaag’s award winning documentary “Scientist Under Attack” you will receive a 30-minute bonus documentary called “Monster Salmon” that explores this issue in more depth.
- Join in on the Global Day of Action, February 9th, 2013—a national day of peaceful protest on the steps of state buildings and street corners across the country.
- Call the White House
- Comment on the FDA website during their 60-day comment period (expires February 25th)
- Join the Tipping Point Network to connect with other non-GMO advocates in your area
- Use social media to spread the word.
It’s a critical issue right now. Please make it your priority.
I’m On The Road Again
I gave about 108 presentations last year, as did interviews with more than 165 press venues. And yes, I did give myself a restful break in December. I’ll need it—we have received invitations from around the country and from five continents. Already this year I gave talks to several hundred Amish farmers at the Mid-Ohio Grower’s Meeting. One person assured me that our presentation “converted” the whole community. In February we visit Arizona (Phoenix, Prescott, and Sedona) and then go straight to the Health Freedom Expo in Long Beach, CA. See the map for speaking engagements near you.
How Are We Doing?
As always, we welcome your constructive feedback. Tell us what’s working for you and let us know how we can do more. While proponents of GMOs continue to pull out all the stops, the pace of progress in the anti-GMO world is so great these days that it’s hard to keep up….Not a bad problem to have.
Sincerely, Jeffrey M. Smith