No GMOs the Focus of This Year’s
Natural Products Expo West

by Melissa Diane Smith

If you think few people care about non-GMO foods, it’s time to get that idea out of your head. Natural Products Expo West, the country’s largest natural products convention, which took place March 8-11, 2012, was abuzz with people talking about no GMOs in many different ways.

Natural Products Expo West is usually a good indicator of what’s coming in natural food stores and grocery stores throughout the country. At this year’s Natural Products Expo West, there were numerous lectures on GMOs, education about the federal and California GMO labeling initiatives, several companies saying they are in the process of taking the GMOs out of their products, and countless new Non GMO Project Verified food products. In fact, there are more than 6,000 products in the Non GMO Project now!

Two New Movies Coming

Also at the Expo came word of two new movies about GMOs that are in production. The films likely will be coming out this year but need financial assistance so they are completed in time to educate the masses and help the California GMO labeling initiative pass. One is a new movie by leading non-GMO advocate Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology covering the health effects of GMOs in a way that goes beyond the animal research. It will include startling interviews with pediatricians and family doctors on the health effects they have seen in patients in their practices since GMOs have been introduced into our food and what happens when GMOs are taken out of the diet.

To donate money to help with the production of this health-effect-oriented GMO film, go to “Jeffrey Smith’s Powerful New Film, and a Matching Grant to Make It Happen” ( and click on the Donate Today link at the bottom of the article. For a limited time, your tax-deductible gift will be matched by, so your donation will have twice the impact.

The second movie is a film directed by filmmaker Jeremy Seifert, the director of “Dive,” and produced by Josh Kunau, who also worked on “Dive,” as well as Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of Ohio representative Dennis Kucinich. Audience members at the convention discussion about the film had the opportunity to view two clips of the movie, one that you can see at The other clip focused on the importance and sacredness of seeds and had a section in which non-GMO activist and author Vandana Shiva explained how nature is generous in giving us seeds and biodiversity, and the new GMO-based food system is about scarcity of seeds and scarcity of diversity, both of which are problematic for life and quality of life.

Kunau said the filmmaking team is trying to make a film for people “who don’t know and don’t care” about the GMO issue right now. Sixty percent of this movie has already been filmed.

To donate money to help complete the production of this GMO film, go to and click on the Donate button.

Two Big GMO Labeling Campaigns

Two notable GMO labeling campaigns that are happening right now also had a big presence at the Expo: the national Just Label It online petition campaign, and the campaign to collect signatures from California registered voters to get the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Initiative on the November ballot.

Both are important and can use your assistance to wake the public up to this issue, get GMOs into the national spotlight, and use our collective power to push the issue of labeling genetically modified (GM) foods. The Just Label It online petition campaign is collecting email signatures that will eventually be presented to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on it to label GM foods. The deadline for collecting names of people who want mandatory GMO labeling of foods is the end of April. The most petition signers previously in the history of petitions to the FDA for a food issue was 500,000, and the Just Label It campaign is getting very close to one million signatures on this petition. If you haven’t yet signed the Just Label It online petition and would like to add your name, go to

Regarding the California initiative, keep in mind this popular saying: “As California goes, so goes the nation.” If the voters in California get enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot and pass it, labeling of GMOs throughout the country is likely to follow. Even if you don’t live in California, you can help the campaign reach the signatures it needs to receive by April 22 by telling friends, family members, and colleagues who live in California about it and how important it is for them to sign the initiative. Go to for more info.

According to a panel of speakers at the Expo, the California initiative may be the “game-changer” we all want and have been waiting for, but there actually are 17 other states working on a ballot initiative or legislative action for GMO labeling. In other words, this is a hot topic that people are waking up to and that is spreading throughout the country.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich who introduced a series of bills to the House of Representatives to get GMOs labeled seven different times since 1999 also attended the discussion about the new GMO film. He said the fight against GMOs boils down to a struggle between human freedom and complete control of humans by powerful corporations, and it gives us a chance to create unity – a huge, broad-based left-right coalition that is focused on the deeper level of what it means to be human.  “This may be one of the most important conversations we have in our entire lives,” Kucinich said.

That’s my belief and why I continue to write, speak, counsel clients, and educate the public about GMOs.

For info on how to avoid genetically modified foods like a growing number of people in the natural foods industry, see the Eat GMO Free Challenge by the GMO Free Project of Tucson.

Copyright © 2012 Melissa Diane Smith

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