The last few weeks have been full of announcements from the food industry about their move to label GMOs. It’s smart. They’ve spent millions of dollars defending GMOs for the biotech industry, only to lose their consumer base.
In 2014, 45% of new product launches were non-GMO. The consumer wants out of these ingredients.
Here in the United States, the news to label GMOs couldn’t come quickly enough, as headlines have also been about how other countries are opting out of Monsanto’s products. India and China are pushing back on Monsanto’s operating system, introduced to us by Monsanto in the 1990s with their Roundup Ready seeds, genetically engineered to withstand increasing doses of their weed killer, Roundup. Syngenta rejected a pricey acquisition. Scotland, the country that Monsanto’s CEO is from, is pushing back on the weedkiller Roundup.
Why are people increasingly allergic to this business model?
Because of lingering questions about the toxicity and cancer causing ability of the weedkiller.
The World Health Organization declared Roundup a “probable carcinogen” a year ago, and the fall out has been fierce. Most recently, with the European Environmental Committee voting against renewing the approval of glyphosate in Europe, with the FDA finally deciding that they are going to test for it in our food, and perhaps most tellingly, with Goldman Sachs downgrading Monsanto (MON) to a sell rating.
No one is in a better position to tell this story than Carey Gillam. She has been a journalist for twenty years, most recently covering the food and agriculture industries as a senior reporter at Reuters. When she decided to leave that post, I reached out, understanding that today, in many cases, journalists can not always tell the complete story without fear of retribution. I’ve seen magazine editors quit because of the sway that companies held over content.
Carey’s story was no different. She could no longer report on what she was seeing, without compromising the integrity of her work, so she quit.
When we asked her for an interview for our podcast, it was both an honor and enormously insightful to speak with her for Take Out with Ashley and Robyn. We could have talked for hours, so expect us to circle back for more.
We discussed tough issues like how can media trust a source, can a journalist & publication be truly neutral when advertising dollars play such a critical financial role? And what should consumers be looking for when reading a story in the media today?
Courage is contagious. And each time that one of us stands up against the injustice that has become our food system, it inspires others to do the same.
You can listen to our interview with Carey here.