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CT March Against GMO Seeds "Raised Awareness"

Photo: In more than 400 cities around the world, people participated in this weekend's March Against Monsanto, voicing their disapproval of genetically modified crops and foods.
Photo: In more than 400 cities around the world, people participated in this weekend's March Against Monsanto, voicing their disapproval of genetically modified crops and foods.
May 28, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. - Thousands in Connecticut and across New England spent part of the long weekend participating in the worldwide "March Against Monsanto" protest. Monsanto produces genetically-modified seeds for farm crops, and protesters believe the company has used unfair business practices as it tries to increase the use of genetically-modified foods.

At one of many New England rallies, local advocate Bonnie Wright said she became active in the cause because genetically-modified organisms in food were making her sick. According to Wright, they're now in so many products that it's hard to figure out which foods are GMO-free.

"Say: 'Hey, we're not accepting this, this isn't right.' We want to be able to make informed decisions, and the way that things are now, if we don't know what's in our food, we can't make informed decisions," she declared.

Hartford and New London were among more than 400 cities worldwide with weekend protests that drew an estimated 2 million people.

The GMO process involves inserting genes into common farm seeds like corn or soybeans to make them hardier or more pest-resistant, and then patenting those seeds. The practice was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Monsanto does some of its work in North Carolina's Research Triangle. According to Roland McReynolds, executive director of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, some countries now require that GMO foods be labeled as such, but there is no such rule in the U.S.

"Because genetically modified seeds so dominate the plantings of corn and soybeans, basically, if food doesn't say it's 'GMO-free,' you should assume that it has GMOs in it," McReynolds cautioned.

Monsanto's practice of genetically modifying seeds is protected by U.S. law, although last week Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon introduced an amendment that would overturn those protections.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT