rcumminsDefying repeated threats of a lawsuit from Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), on May 8, Peter Shumlin, Governor of Vermont, signed a historic bill requiring food manufacturers to label genetically engineered (GE) foods, and to drop the practice of labeling GE foods as “natural” or “all natural.”

On May 9, true to its word, the GMA confirmed that it will sue Vermont in federal court to overturn H. 112.

Anti-GMO rally. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Anti-GMO rally. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / J. Bicking

Vermont is prepared to fight back. The state has already established a “food fight” legal defense fund. Legal analysts say Vermont will likely win.

Vermont isn’t the only state up against the multi-billion dollar lobbying group. The GMA, whose 300-plus members include Monsanto and Dow, Coca-Cola and General Mills, is pushing a bill in Congress that would preempt all states from passing (genetically modified organism) GMO labeling laws.

It’s time for consumers in every state to band together to defeat the GMA’s full-on assault, not only on Vermont, not only on consumers’ right to know what’s in our food, but on states’ rights and on our basic freedoms to protect our health and our communities.

Here’s how we do it. We boycott every product, including the natural and organic brands, owned by members of the GMA. We flood their Facebook pages, tarnish their brand names. We pressure financial institutions, pension funds and mutual funds to divest from Monsanto and the other GMA companies.

Our motto for Monsanto and GMA products must become: Don’t buy them. Don’t sell them. Don’t grow them. And don’t let your financial institution, university, church, labor union or pension fund invest in them.

As soon as the GMA files a lawsuit against Vermont, the Organic Consumers Association, joined by a growing coalition of public interest groups, will launch a boycott and divestment campaign directed against all of the 300 GMA companies and their thousands of brand name products—including foods, beverages, seeds, home and garden supplies, pet food, herbicides and pesticides.

A new balance of power

Monsanto and the GMA have, until now, successfully blocked popular GMO labeling legislation in more than 30 states. They’ve defeated, by a razor-thin margin, two high-profile ballot initiatives, in California (2012) and Washington (2013). And they’ve intimidated Connecticut and Maine into including trigger clauses in those states’ GMO labeling laws, successfully delaying their implementation.

Funding for this anti-consumer, anti-right-to-know lobbying and advertising effort topped $100 million in 2012-2014, including $12 million in illegally laundered donations to I-522, the Washington State GMO labeling ballot initiative of 2013. All of that money has come from the 300 chemical, seed, supermarket, grain, pharmaceutical and food corporations, including Monsanto and the other Gene Giants, who make up the GMA.

Until now the GMA colossus has ruled, not only in Washington D.C., but in all 50 states. But now that Vermont has passed a trigger-free GMO labeling law, and Oregon is poised to do the same in November, the balance of power has shifted.

Monsanto, the GMA and their allies are in panic mode. Because they know that when companies are forced to label or remove GMOs, and also are forced to drop the fraudulent practice of labeling GE-tainted foods as “natural” or “all natural,” in one state, they will have to do it in every state. Just as they’ve been forced to do in Europe, where mandatory GMO labeling has been in effect since 1997.

GMA members and corporate agribusiness hate labeling, because it forces them to reveal all of the hazardous GMOs, chemicals and drug residues lurking in the billions of dollars of foods, beverages, seeds, grains and pesticides they sell. It’s no wonder that Monsanto and GMA’s bill in Congress—a bill they’ve named the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014”—has been renamed the “DARK” (Denying Americans the right to know) Act.

Let the boycott begin

We absolutely must defeat the impending GMA lawsuit against Vermont. This will require us to raise money and provide legal help to the state.

Equally important, we need to intensify our mass education, grassroots lobbying and marketplace pressure so we can defeat Monsanto and the GMA Big Food/Chemical lobby in the court of public opinion, too. If you would like to donate to this effort click here.

But there are other ways we can use our dollars to defeat the GMA. We can refuse to invest, even indirectly through retirement and mutual funds, in those companies. We can pressure institutional investors like Fidelity, Vanguard and State Street to dump their stock in these companies.

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