Could 2011 Be the Year We Create a Non-GMO Tipping Point?

by Melissa Diane Smith

(Opinion) – Last year there was an unprecedented increase in awareness in the United States about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), important victories in court, and key steps forward in educating larger groups of people about GMOs and how to stay away from them. With experts predicting more of an upsurge of consumer concern in the United States this year, could 2011 be the year that consumer rejection starts to shut the door on these untested, harmful Frankenfoods for good? Although no one really knows for sure, there are several encouraging signs that that time is coming, if not this year, then within a year or two.

According to a November Institute for Responsible Technology newsletter, in 2010, these GMO-related issues made headlines:

  • A federal court banned the selling of genetically modified (GM) sugar beets.
  • An appeals court ruled against the rbGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, which is also genetically modified) labeling restrictions in Ohio.
  • Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, which is sold with most GM crops, is imploding. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of superweeds that are resistant to its toxic effects. And Roundup’s promotion of soil pathogens seems to be creating an explosion of plant disease, including widespread Sudden Death Syndrome in soybeans, and possibly Mad Soy Disease in South America. In just 11 months, Monsanto went from Forbes “Company of the Year” to the Worst Stock of the Year.
  • Surveys show that genetically modified salmon are swimming upstream against a tide of 91% of Americans who don’t want them.

At the end of 2010, a few popular sources exposed many more people to the dangers of GMOs in our everyday food supply. Mike Adams, editor of, released a Just Say No to GMO music video that explains the many troubles with GMOs in very clear terms. On December 7, 2010, the Dr. Oz Show ran an informative episode on genetically modified foods. It marked the first time any major entertainment show has covered the health dangers of genetically modified foods in the United States. If you haven’t viewed either of these, be sure to watch them and forward the links to others.

Since September, the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) has been inundated with requests for non-GMO shopping guides, health risk brochures, non-GMO education centers, and other materials, as retailers, healthcare practitioners, and enthusiastic consumers are jumping on board the non-GMO bandwagon. There have been so many requests for more information that the Institute began training others, including myself, to speak about GMOs to continue spreading the word.

In 1999 in the European Union (EU), a tipping point of consumer rejection came very quickly – within a single week – as information spread after a gag order was lifted on a scientist who conducted experiments that indicated severe immune and organ effects on rats that were fed GMOs. A tipping point is expected to happen here in the United States as information about GMOs gets out in more channels including social media and a growing number of informed people start actively avoiding GM foods. A tipping point occurs when major food companies realize that using GMOs is a liability in foods and they start pulling GM ingredients from their products. The great news is it is expected to take only about 5% of the U.S. population – 15 million people or just 5.6 million households – who stay away from GM foods when they shop to bring about that tipping point. That’s such a small amount that the number of people who regularly or occasionally buy organic foods and specialty health foods such as gluten-free foods is more than enough to bring forth a non-GMO tipping point.

Readers of this website are exactly the kind of people who can help jumpstart a tipping point. To help do this much more quickly, please join the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network. (I have; I hope you’ll join me.) You can simply pledge to be a non-GMO shopper or you can get more involved by contributing a donation or becoming an advocate to help spread the word through email, Facebook or Twitter or to do outreach in your community or on the national level.

If you are new to the topic of GM foods or simply need a refresher on the eight major GM foods, how prevalent they are in the foods we eat, the health dangers associated with them, and how to avoid them, check out my post, “The Time to Stand Up and Create a Non-GMO Movement,” which covers the basics and has links to most of the other posts I have written on GM foods.

When most people learn the truth about GM foods, they don’t like the idea and quickly turn away from these foods. That means that once the word spreads to enough people, the non-GMO tipping point will happen in this country. We just don’t know when. Let’s make it happen sooner rather than later.

Copyright © 2011 Melissa Diane Smith

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