I had the opportunity to interview Jeffrey Smith at the recent Justice Begins with Seeds Conference in San Francisco. Smith has been speaking on GMOs since 1996, and has two books on the subject –Â Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette.Â Listen to the complete interview below. For a list of Smiths’ upcoming events, and more information about the campaign, visit the Institute for Responsible Technology’s website.
Listen to theÂ Jeffrey Smith Interview, and see the transcript below.
For more information about the conference see San Francisco Justice Conference Plants A Seed.
My name is Jeffrey Smith, Iâ€™m the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and the author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette.Â We work to create a tipping point of consumer rejection to drive GMOs â€“ genetically modified organisms â€“ out of the food supply.
0:16 GMOs are the most radical change in the human diet â€“ soon after they were introduced several serious health problems increased, we think GMOs are related. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Science said every doctor should prescribe non-GMO diets to every patient because animal feeding studies have linked GMOs with reproductive problems, immune system problems, accelerated aging organ damage and digestive problems. So we think since the government is not paying attention to these issues itâ€™s time to inform consumers about how to avoid GMOs and why to avoid GMOs because of the health dangers. We think if a small percentage of shoppers avoid GMOs weâ€™ll kick them out of the market.
1:05 we now are reaching millions of people every month. We have a couple of thousands activists getting the word out on a local and national level. We have hundreds of people trained to speak on GMOs. And we have probably convinced more people not to eat GMOs than any other organization in the world. Thatâ€™s always been our strategy, our materials go out far and wide, are used all over the world, books, DVDs, CDs, and also available through natural food stores.
1:35 So we have seen in the last 18 months or so an unprecedented upsurge of consumer awareness and concern in the United States and weâ€™re part of the coalition thatâ€™s helped create that â€“ of individuals who are very actively educating their friends and family, very knowledgable about the health risks of GMOs and theyâ€™re getting the word out.
Based on my experience â€“ Iâ€™ve been crisscrossing the US regularly for 8 years â€“ weâ€™ve never seen this level of interest and attention â€“ we think thereâ€™s now millions of people concerned about GMOs and looking for ways to avoid them.
2:15 Well, back when the Bush administration was running things, we had no desire whatsoever to engage because we realized that was the strength of the biotech industry, where they controlled the marbles so to speak and spent a lot of money.Â So our strength was their weakness â€“ which is consumer concern when they know the truth.
2:25 We were hoping for a more positive reaction and results when the Obama administration took over, but it turns out theyâ€™ve been worse than the Bush administration. Their policies, their decisions, their deregulation process at the USDA is entirely as if dictated by Monsanto â€“ the largest biotech company. So we do not engage with them directly, weâ€™re focused on consumer education so the market will drive them out. And this happened in Europe more than 10 years ago. After a single food safety scandal hit the market and more than 700 articles were written within weeks a tipping point was achieved, and companies committed not to use them within a single week.
3:20 Weâ€™ve seen a tipping point in the US about bovine growth horomone. We educate people about the fact that the dairy from cows that have been injected with bovine growth horomone have higher levels of IGF1 which is linked to cancer â€“ parents say they donâ€™t want to eat it, so itâ€™s been kicked out of Walmart, Starbucksâ€™ milk, Yoplait, Danon, most American dairies. So a tippint point has already occurred against a GM product in the united states, and weâ€™re now engineering a tipping point against all GMOs or genetically modified organisms.
4:00 The most important thing for people is to protect themselves and their families from the health consequences of eating genetically modified organisms. So go to nongmoshoppingguide.com or download shop no gmo from itunes for your iphone/ipad and figure out which brands you want that donâ€™t contain GMOs.
If you have extra energy left over go to responsibletechnology.org, sign up for our free newsletter, you may want to join the tipping point network, find a local group in your area, show a film, participate in some event. Itâ€™s a fun way to get the word out and eat healthy.
4:45 weâ€™ve never seen this level of response in the US before. Iâ€™ve been working on this issue since 1996 and weâ€™re now at a place that weâ€™ve been working towards and planning towards and hoping for. So weâ€™re seeing a buzz that is beginning to multiply in the organic industry, food industry, millions of people are engagedâ€¦ itâ€™s now to see how this thing organizes to create a tipping point itâ€™s very exciting.