Ohioans Join Global "March Against Monsanto"
genetically modified organisms. Photo credit: Diane Geschke Naso.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Activists in five Ohio cities this weekend plan to join others around the world to protest the practices of an agricultural giant.
March Against Monsanto events will be held in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton and Maumee to draw attention to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture.
Monsanto is one of the world's largest producers of GMOs. It is based in St. Louis but has offices and research facilities in Ohio.
Hannah Daniels, an organizer of the march in Cleveland, says more needs to be known about the long-term risks GMOs may pose to health and the environment.
"In other countries, genetically modified organisms are altogether banned or they at least have labeling laws that require the companies to label if there are genetically modified organisms in the food,” she explains. “And in America, there is nothing like that at all."
Daniels maintains consumers have a right to know what they are eating, and that legislation is needed to require labeling of GMO food products.
While some in the scientific community claim genetically modified organisms are safe, Daniels and others say they are not adequately monitored and have been linked to organ damage, birth defects, and increased cancer risks.
On Saturday, marches will take place on six continents.
Daniels says there's been increased interest in the issue, as more consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it's produced.
"We're hoping this year that we can just reach some more people about it and more people will become aware,” she says. “Because a lot of people don't even know what's going on, you know, they've never even heard of genetically modified organisms before."
Monsanto has stated it is opposed to initiatives to mandate labeling of ingredients developed from GMO seeds in the absence of any demonstrated risks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, GMO crops were planted on about half of the total land used for crops in the U.S. last year