"Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." – Anthropologist Margaret Mead
Even if you've heard the above quote many times before, the sentiment expressed is so powerful that I think it's worth repeating. All around the world, small groups of people are organizing public support for improved food safety and successfully challenging large corporations to change their behavior.
That's exactly what Flint Michigan residents Kathleen Kirby and Mark Fisher are banking on: their power to influence change. They're participating in a nationwide consumer boycott of Kellogg's Co. instigated by the Organic Consumers Association. By boycotting the world's largest cereal company, they hope to pressure Kellogg's into rejecting the use of sugar from genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets and to spark widespread market rejection in products ranging from cereal to baby food to candy.
As you may know, Roundup Ready sugar beets are genetically altered to resist Monsanto's toxic weed killer, Roundup, and its active ingredient, glyphosate. But here's the scary truth about these beets:
When the USDA first approved GE sugar beets for commercial planting in 1998, the EPA also increased the maximum allowable residues of glyphosate on sugar beet roots from just .02 parts per million to 10ppm. That's a staggering 5,000 percent increase of allowable toxins on beet roots. And, it's little surprise that EPA made this policy change at the request of Monsanto.
Sugar beet roots contain sucrose that's extracted, refined, and processed into the sugar used in the foods we eat. What this means is that the more GE ingredients that find their way into our food, the greater the likelihood that we are ingesting more toxic chemicals.
Thankfully, GE sugar beets have never been grown in the U.S. for sale to food manufacturers – that is, until this year, when Western farmers planted their first crop of Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets. Right now, over half of the sugar used in U.S. processed foods comes from sugar beets, with beet and cane sugars combined in those products. What's most disturbing is that once GE sugar beets hit the market, which could be as early as next year, there will be no way to know if we're eating GE sugar because GE ingredients are not labeled.