TRUCKEE, Calif. — A handful of residents gathered at the corner of Donner Pass Road and Highway 89 in Truckee Saturday to make sure locals were represented in the “March Against Monsanto” protest.
Aside from events in smaller communities, rallies took place in 52 countries and 436 cities throughout the world on Saturday. Event organizers said seed company Monsanto and the genetically modified food it produces are compromising the health of humans, accusing the corporation of aggressively fighting initiatives to have its products labeled.
“I feel that this is one of the greatest issues facing our society today and that north Tahoe/Truckee should be represented in this worldwide movement,” said Truckee resident Jeff Gelinas, who helped organize the Truckee event. “It is all about raising awareness regarding not only the overall health of the human race but the planet and its myriad of life forms in general.”
In all, more than 30 locals turned out to protest Saturday in Truckee, Gelinas said.
According to various news reports, the issue centers on genetically modified plants, which are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply.
Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified. Critics say genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can lead to serious health conditions and harm the environment.
“Besides Monsanto’s dubious history of poisoning people and the planet, I feel society has a right to know what they are being fed,” Gelinas said. “Skepticism should always arise when any person or organization won’t willingly own up to their products or actions.”
A proposition appeared on California voters’ ballots during the 2012 general election that would have required food companies to label all products that use GMO; the initiative was narrowly defeated, with 6,088,714 voting in favor and 6,442,371 against.
According to previous reports, proposition critics raised issues about which foods were covered under the law and whether the labeling requirement would lead to increases in grocery costs.