A group of safe-food advocates working through the Occupy Monsanto and Food Democracy organizations announced today, Jan. 14, 2013, their planned roving assembly in Washington, DC for 2nd Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Hundreds of safe food activists will hold a "GMO Free Inauguration" by sharing organic & non-GMO food and hot drinks via a roving musical assembly. The group will call upon President Obama to follow through with his 2007 campaign promise to label foods with genetically engineered (GMO) ingredients. The group will gather at 9:00 a.m. on the South side of Dupont Circle and walk to the National Mall for the inauguration ceremonies.
“President Obama has had over four years to give Americans the same simple food labels citizens of over 40 countries enjoy," says, Emilianne Slaydon, founder of GMO-Free DC. "With over 90% of Americans in support of labels for GE foods, if Obama acts there's no demographic he would upset except Wall Street agribusiness interests and processed food companies."
Last fall over $45 million dollars was spent by the biotech food industry in a lopsided battle to defeat GMO food labels in California. While the voter initiative lost by less than two percentage points, numerous states across America have begun a process of getting GMO food labeling legislation passed.
No response from White House
"We're tired of waiting for the Obama Administration to respond to our 'We the People' petitions on the White House website," says Gene, an anonymous Occupy Monsanto activist, "So we are going to inform President Obama's supporters that he's failed to answer our concerns."
On September 23, 2011, on the second day after the "We the People" petitioning microsite was launched, the first GMO Labeling petition was created. It has received over 30,000 signatures and has not received a response, while a petition on raw milk, which was also created on the same day, was responded to after only 6,000 signatures. In April of 2011 another GMO Labeling petition was created and eight months & over 60,000 signatures later, there is still no response from the White House. In the meantime, the White House has answered three petitions on cannabis legalization, as well as responded to petitions on ephemeral issues like building the Death Star and the White House beer recipe.
Recording of Promise
Activists will be accompanied by a mobile sound system that will be playing audio of President Obama's GMO labeling campaign promise that was made on November 10, 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa.
President Obama said "Here's what I'll do as president… we'll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they're buying." (Watch here)
Activists will also be handing out information concerning GMO foods and information about how customers can avoid them in spite of a lack of Federal GMO labeling guidelines.
Opposition grows worldwide
In 2012 protests against GM crop trials and the biotech industry’s activities took place across the globe. And although 60 countries already have GM food labeling, important new breakthroughs were achieved in: India, which is to introduce labeling for the first time in 2013; South Africa, where GM labeling is being tightened up to help enforce food industry compliance; Brazil, where the courts forced the multinational food company Nestle to label GM ingredients in its products; and Turkey, where mandatory labeling is to be extended to include GMO-fed animal products.