While that CBS interview was taking place, “Hulk” actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo was waiting behind the scenes, preparing for his own appearance on the CBS morning show.
As Grant came into the Green Room after his segment, Ruffalo grabbed the opportunity to give Grant a piece of his mind. In his blog, Ruffalo recounts the events of that chance meeting:5
“… Approaching someone like this isn’t really my thing. But, being so well behaved all the time doesn’t seem to be helping people. It made me really uncomfortable to do it … [But we] must act out of our comfort zones for things to change.
We must call out the people who are doing horrible things when they do them. Hugh Grant must be made to feel uncomfortable for what he allows his company to do in the world …
He came through the Green Room door ready to do high fives with his press agent and I simply told him this: ‘You are wrong. You are engaged in monopolizing food. You are poisoning people. You are killing small farms. You are killing bees. What you are doing is dead wrong.’
A bead of sweat broke out on his head. ’Well, what I think we are doing is good’ … When people get paid the kind of money he gets paid, their thinking becomes incredibly clouded, and the first thing to go is their morality.
He says Monsanto needs to do a better job with their messaging. Hugh, it’s not your messaging that makes you and your company horrible. It’s the horrible stuff you guys do that makes you and your company horrible …
No matter how much jumping around you do on morning shows (where no one can really nail you down for the horrible stuff you do) you will still always be horrible, and people will always greet you the way I did, when you go around trying to cover up the fact that you are horrible.”
Monsanto Pays Scientists to Support Roundup Safety
On the list of “horrible” things Monsanto does on a regular basis: paying scientists to develop support for its toxins. When the IARC concluded that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, Monsanto was quick to demand a retraction, charging the internationally recognized experts with conducting “junk science.” This time the charge didn’t stick, however — probably because the IARC is considered the global gold standard for carcinogenicity studies.
Soon thereafter, the company hired the “one-stop shop” consulting firm Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy6,7 to assemble a panel of scientists to refute the IARC’s determination. Ten of the 16 scientists on the panel have worked as consultants for Monsanto in the past, and two are former Monsanto employees. Needless to say, the outcome of this panel’s “investigation” was clearly foreseeable right from the start.
As reported by Reuters:8
“The group said that the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) misinterpreted or incorrectly weighted some of the data it reviewed and ignored other data before classifying glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, according to an abstract of its findings.‘Thus, none of the results from a very large database, using different methodologies, provides evidence of, or a potential mechanism for, human carcinogenesis,’ the abstract said.”
90 Percent of Americans Want to Know If Their Food Is GE
According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), 80 percent of the foods on your grocery store’s shelves contain GMOs (now referred to as GEs by the FD),9 but virtually none of them are labeled.
As concerns about pesticide toxicity and other potential health hazards associated with GE foods grow, more and more people want to know what’s in the food they buy. According to a December 2015 poll,10 9 out of 10 Americans now want mandatory labeling for GE foods.
Moreover, nearly the same amount of people (88 percent) want that information to be clearly listed on the food label, rather than having to use a smartphone to scan a QR code11,12 to find the information — a completely unworkable situation when you have a cart full of food packages to scan through!
But, inconvenience isn’t the only drawback with using QR codes, which are promoted as a “compromise” in lieu of mandatory GE labeling.
In a recent blog post,13 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists a total of 10 reasons why the Smart Label proposal can’t work and must be rejected. First of all, the Smart Label would have no rules governing what constitutes a GE ingredient. The program is also completely voluntary, so food companies can elect to include a QR code on the package or not.
And, they can elect to reveal whether the product contains GE ingredients or not on the product’s Website. There’s also no enforcement, so you have no way of knowing whether the company’s Website is providing you with accurate and full disclosure.
Moreover, there’s no deadline for when companies would have to provide QR codes on their food packages. As noted by Lisa Archer, Food and Technology Program Director at Friends of the Earth:
“GMO labeling via QR code technology is unworkable, threatens privacy, and is discriminatory since more than a third of Americans, many of which are low-income, or live in rural areas with poor internet access, don’t own smartphones. FDA’s approval of GMO salmon makes it all the more urgent that Congress require mandatory, universally accessible GMO labeling that any consumer can read on the package when they’re choosing what to feed their families.”
Please Contact Your Senators to Oppose DARK Act Policy Rider
The poll reveals GE labeling has majority support from all political parties — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — and even a majority of people who view GMOs favorably want GE foods to be labeled. As noted in a press release by Just Label It!:14
“The poll, commissioned by a coalition of consumer and environmental groups, comes at a timely moment. In Congress, some lawmakers want to add a provision to the omnibus spending bill that would block states from requiring GE labels for produce and processed food, as would the so-called DARK Act15,16,17,18passed by the House last summer.”
On November 30, 2015, a broad coalition of more than 290 environmental, farming, and fishing groups, as well as food companies sent a letter19,20 to Congressional leaders, opposing the plan to add a DARK Act Policy Rider to the “must pass” omnibus appropriations bill, which would preempt state laws that require disclosure of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.
Luckily, the rider was not attached despite millions of dollars spent by junk food manufacturers and biotech groups like Monsanto. There was a rider that demanded labeling for genetically engineered salmon, so a partial win for advocates has already occurred – but why just label salmon?
They now plan to throw everything at a dedicated bill in January to preempt labeling by using these ridiculous QR codes.
Tell them that QR codes are not a viable substitute for GMO labeling. In fact, QR codes or Smart Labels are inherently discriminatory since you cannot use them unless you own a smartphone, which nearly half of Americans in rural and poor areas don’t.21
The DARK Act preempts state rights and violates individual rights, and the implementation of a voluntary Smart Label program does absolutely nothing to change that. Tell them that you, along with 90 percent of the American people, demand clear labeling of GMOs, and that the DARK Act Policy Rider must not be allowed to be added to the appropriations bill.
URGENT: Two Major Issues to Set Our Senators Straight on Before It’s Too Late
It’s imperative to concentrate our efforts on our senators right now, and to inform them accurately. They’re being deceived by industry lobbyists, and this is our last chance to preserve our right to know what is in our food.
For example, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) introduced a bill that would preempt states’ rights to enact GMO labeling laws. It would specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients. It would also allow food manufacturers to use the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs.
Unfortunately, the bill has been passed in the House and now heads to the Senate. It’s critical that you contact your senators today urging them to not support HR 1599. Tell them this bill is an attack on consumer rights and states’ rights, and you expect your elected officials to protect you.
In addition, the FDA has now cleared the way for GE (Genetically Engineered) Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption. The product will not require special labelling because it’s claimed to be nutritionally equivalent to conventional farm-raised Atlantic salmon. By allowing this there is no guarantee GE salmon will not enter the wild, which can be detrimental to the ecosystem.
The biotech industry is trying to push the QR code as an answer for consumer concerns about GE foods. QR stands for Quick Response, and the code can be scanned and read by smart phones and other QR readers. The code brings you to a product website that provides further details about the product. There’s nothing forcing companies to declare GMOs on their website. On the contrary, HR 1599 allows GMOs to be promoted as “natural,” which further adds to the confusion.
The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to start taking action now. I urge you to share this information with friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity.
You can find your senators’ contact information by clicking the button below, or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. To set up an in-person meeting with your senators, contact their district office. Remember, here are the two points you should address when contacting them:
- Do not support HR 1599 — consumers have the right to know what’s in their food
- You demand mandatory, on-package labeling of GMOs — and any compromise, including a voluntary labeling QR code scheme, is unacceptable.
Non-GMO Food Resources by Country