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Today's March Against Monsanto aims to educate on GMOs

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GMO. By now everyone has heard of GMO food but do you really understand what it encompasses? And do you really understand how what the government allows done to your food in say Kansas really affects your dinner here in Lancaster? A group here in Lancaster called GMO Free Lancaster County wants to answer your questions.

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Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our LiveTomorrow, Today,Today (Saturday, 24 May), at 2 p.m., there will be a March Against Monsanto at Penn Square. The March will begin at 2 p.m. There will be speakers and workshops as well as vendors and GMO free food samples available to help raise awareness.

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. Simply stated, a relatively simple procedure is done in which the DNA of one species is injected into the DNA of another. This creates an entirely new species. This is not the same as natural evolution or natural breeding. This is completely scientific and does not occur naturally.

Some farmers and government entities would argue that farmers can produce more food this way. This process is done to corn, soy, canola and even sugar. One type of GMO that receives a great deal of attention is Monsanto’s Bt Corn. Monsanto injects a pesticide into every cell of a plant that causes bugs and worms and such to literally explode when they eat it. The corn, according to Moms Across America, is actually patented as a pesticide.

Child allergies have risen over 400% since 1994, said Zoe Swartz, organizer with the GMO Free Lancaster County. GMO, she said, attributes to the autoimmune system issue.

The pesticides and herbicides have caused many health problems in men, women, and children. Many countries have banned GMO crops. Here in America we do not even label them.

Genetically modified foods are not currently labeled in much of the nation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require it. Recently, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed legislation making his state the first to require labeling of GMO foods.

Pennsylvania currently has a bill, HB 1770, in legislation that would require such labeling. The Act, sponsored by Representative Peter J. Dailey, was referred to the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, where it has sat since October 2013. Lancaster’s Representative Michael Sturla has signed on to the Act.

For more information on the organization, visit the GMO Free Lancaster County website. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

On Friday, 30 May the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry will discuss the pros and cons of GMO crops at its Ag Issues Forum. Some argue that the GMO crops are necessary to create more food to feed the nation’s growing population. Some argue that GMO foods are causing more health problems and are tampering with nature. The cost for Chamber members is $25, non-members are $35. The meeting will be held at the Farm & Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road. To register, email Ashley Miller or call 717-397-3531 ext. 152.

Swartz suggested people get informed about what they are eating and how it may affect you. She also suggested starting small. As you run out of canola oil, a GMO food, buy something organic. In other words, replace things as you go. Above all, be informed.

At the March Against Monsanto today, there will be informational booths and vendors providing information. There will also be information there on joining the GMO Free Lancaster County, which meets monthly and holds informational workshops.

This is a world wide event too. So, if you are interested but not local to Lancaster, go to the March Against Monsanto May 2014 website for a list of events around the world today.

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