An interview with GMO expert Jeffrey M. Smith
Seeds of Deception author comes to speak in Chico
Anti-GMO top dog coming to town
Emails from local good-foodies have been flying into my inbox on this one: Jeffrey M. Smith, arguably the world’s foremost expert on genetically modified (GM, or GMO) foods—such as corn and soybeans—and the author of Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, is coming to speak in Chico. Smith’s talk, “The Power of Local Food,” will take place at the Chico Masonic Family Center (1110 W. East Ave.) on Sept. 19 at 5 p.m., thanks to the efforts of Carol Albrecht and Chris Kerston of Oroville’s Chaffin Family Orchards.
I caught up with the in-demand Smith recently as he was sitting in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport between flights, on his way to his next speaking engagement.
“I am going to bring a plan, an organizational structure for the people in the region, to create real, lasting change to hopefully end the genetic engineering of our food supply,” said Smith of his upcoming Chico appearance. “We are engineering a ‘tipping point’ of consumer rejection to force GMOs out of the market. We believe that as little as 5 percent of U.S. shoppers avoiding brands that contain GMO ingredients will be sufficient.”
Corporations such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Nestlé, Hershey and Kraft have already taken GMO-containing foods off the market in Europe and Japan, Smith said, “because of consumer tipping-points. And they are on the lookout to see if ‘anti-GMO’ gains traction here [in the U.S.] as well.”
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine “urges all doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets to everyone,” Smith said. “Tests on animals have shown reproductive problems, immune problems, accelerated aging, gastrointestinal problems [as a result of ingesting GMO foods]. There has been a substantial increase in these and other disorders in the U.S. population since GMOs were introduced in 1996.
“FDA scientists repeatedly warned their supervisors about the health dangers associated with GMOs and urged a long-term study be done,” Smith continued, “but the person in charge of [FDA] policy, Michael Taylor, was [GMO-producing giant] Monsanto’s former attorney, and his policy ignored the warnings and allowed GMOs on the market without any testing or labeling.”
Taylor next became Monsanto’s vice president (and chief lobbyist), said Smith, before being appointed by President Obama as the nation’s food safety czar. (As Smith put it in Huff Post Green in September 2009, “The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the U.S. food-safety czar. This is no joke.”)
“Already this year, non-GMO labels are the third-fastest-growing health claims on food packages sold in grocery stores in the United States,” offered Smith. “We are establishing non-GMO groups around the country, training people to speak on GMOs and reaching people every month with the documented evidence to inspire them to seek healthy, non-GMO choices.”
Tickets for Smith’s talk are only $14 and are available at http://jeffreysmith.eventbrite.com. For more info on the health risks posed by GMOs, go to www.responsibletechnology.org, the website of Smith’s GMO-education organization, Institute for Responsible Technology. Also, take a look at the Non-GMO Shopping Guide (available in English and Spanish) at www.nongmoshoppingguide.com.