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MASSPIRG Fights for the Right to Know about GMOs

In the past couple of weeks, the students of the MASSPIRG chapter at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have been collecting signatures for a petition asking that Stop and Shop grocery stores put labels on their products containing GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. If you are one of those signers, thank you!

MASSPIRG delivered 380 signatures to the local Stop and Shop this past Saturday after a short press conference with MASSPIRG member Sarah Schomp and guest speaker Pat Fiero, a former Massachusetts state representative and member of the MA Right To Know.

If you were not one of them, read on for some eye-opening facts about the foods you’re eating and how they could be affecting your health.

  • GMOs are estimated to be in 70-80% of the foods Americans consume.
  • Most of them are designed for increased pesticide and herbicide use – these chemicals can lead to cancer and birth defects.

  • In studies on mice, those who fed on GMO corn and soy had smaller litters of smaller offspring of which more than half died less than a month. Other rodent studies resulted in sterile hamsters and excessive, and possibly cancerous, growth in the stomach lining of rats.  

  • GMOs were found to create problems within the immune systems, livers, pancreases, gastrointestinal systems, aging, and reproductive abilities of GMO-fed mice.

  • Although these results may seem to be rodent oriented, thousands of grazing animals (sheep, goats, and buffalo) were found dead after consuming cotton plants modified to produce soil bacteria.

  • There was a 50% increase in soy allergies in the United Kingdom after integrating GM soy into diets; this is because GM soy can contain up to 7 times the amount of a soy allergen.

I don’t know about all of you, but I can sacrifice my apple being abnormally large and unnaturally bright red for the safety of knowing exactly what it is I’m putting in my body, and that it is safe for me to eat. Many others agree with this as well; a study done by the Non-GMO Project found that 91% of American citizens want foods containing GMOs to be labeled and 53% would avoid purchasing foods containing GMOs. On a positive note, the press conference Saturday revealing all these facts doubled as a celebration of the one-year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement to label all their GMO foods by 2018. This is a huge step in the awareness of the issue and shows how enough unsatisfied consumers can get corporations to listen and make a difference. If you want to know more about GMOs, check out the info on their page.

And if you feel you have the right to know what you’re eating, click the Take Action button to send a message to your legislator asking for a GMO labeling law, like those passed in both Maine and Connecticut, to be passed in Massachusetts!


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Katie Gainer

U Mass Amherst

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