ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

18 November 2002


1. Grandmothers Arrested in Campaign Against GE Food
2. neRAGE biotech newswire: upcoming events + stories from last 7 days


1. Grandmothers Arrested In Campaign Against GE Food

Posted by neRAGE (Sunday November 17 2002 @ 02:41PM)

see also:
[for a news report]


Although I am basically an introvert and a coward, there have been  a few times in my life when I have reluctantly been forced to be brave.

One of them was Saturday's (Oct. 26, 02) confrontation with Law  officers that  got me arrested and branded a Public Nuisance.

It started innocently enough when I agreed to take part in TRUEFOODS National Supermarket Campaign. I usually shy away from people pedaling petitions and passing out leaflets, but I agreed to become one of them in order to alert unwary consumers that:

*  Fish genes, viruses and even human genes are being spliced into their fruits & vegetables.
*  That approximately 60 % of the items on grocery store shelves contain "Frankenstein Foods" with genetically modified organisms.
*  And without their knowledge or consent, consumers have become human guinea pigs for untested foods made from Genetically Engineered organisms.

Previous to the event I'd talked with the local Kroger store manager. He was as unaware as his patrons of the GMO's in Kroger foods. I also contacted Kroger officials in  Huntsville and Atlanta and sent them a Press Release about the event.

A novice at all this, I assumed that was enough. It wasn't. We were outside Krogers passing out literature and getting signatures on petitions when the Assistant Manager told us to leave or he would call the police.

If other brave mothers were doing this at Supermarkets across the Nation, I didn't want Alabama to be left out. I refused to leave. My brave accomplice and partner-in-crime was Jean Tune, an Octogenarian who at 79 still cares greatly about the human race and the earth that sustains us. Moreover, Jean puts her money where her mouth is. Literally.  The widow of a prominent Decatur surgeon, Jean recently:
* hocked all her property
* took out a major loan
* and hired growers to start a Community Assisted Agricultural Program.

Jean's goal is to provide organic produce for her family and others who wish to take part in sustaining the earth that sustains them.

At present, Oregon is the only State in the union to put the issue of labeling G.E. foods on the ballot, and former Beatle Paul McCartney lent his name to Oregon's cause. I am hoping Paul will hear my plea and help our State to become a leader in food labeling. After all, as my good friend Earth Day Founder John McConnell pointed out: Alabama is the first State in the Alphabetical index, first in Space, and there's no reason it can't someday be a leader in environmental excellence.

We must move rapidly. Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company and its coalition associates reportedly are planning to spend a record $6 million to try to defeat Oregon's Ballot Measure 27. Monsanto licenses 90 percent of the foods that would be covered by the measure.

A recent survey indicates 90% of the national populace polled said they support mandatory labeling of GE Foods. Why don't lawmakers listen?

People need to know consumers in Europe resisted America's bullying tactics trying to force GE foods on the lucrative European market. So far the citizens are winning. Few G.E. foods are permitted in European Supermarkets and those few are labeled.

Not so here at home in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Blind to the fact G.E. foods are unlabeled, most Americans don't realize they are being denied their basic right to choose.

How DARE a government elected to serve the needs of the people bow down to corporate greed!

And thank goodness for people like Jean Tune, who swallowed her fear of authority and said she'd support me in whatever I chose to do. She helped give me the courage to stand up and be counted. We both cringed, however, when we were shuttled into the back of the police car and the Police Officer yelled over the radio he was bringing in two caucasian females, one born in 1923. And when he said we would have to pay a $500 bail, we both started to panic.


I could hardly believe my ears, and chuckled in spite of myself. Ahhh, the Power of the Press.

The Police had confiscated our purses and the literature, but my Cell phone was still in my pocket. Dare I risk discovery by trying to call my husband? If I waited until we reached the Police Station they would probably confiscate it anyway. I took the risk: "We've been arrested and are being taken to the Police Station,"I moaned when, thankfully, he picked up on the first ring.

Before I could say more our Captor bellowed: "HAVE YOU GOT A CELL PHONE? GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT NOW!"

More alarmed by the minute, my friend pleaded with me to please give it up.

Already feeling like a trapped criminal, I contemplated my options. Should I leap out of the car and make a run for it? No, I rationalized: The 3 police cars we'd left at Kroger's would be swarming at a moment's notice. Besides, the doors were locked from up front. Discretion being the better part of valor, I meekly handed over my cell phone.

At the Police Station we were met by a Sergeant in plain clothes who apprised us, to Jean's relief, if we promised to NEVER set foot on Kroger's premises again, we would be released until our Court Date (November 20)on our own recognizance. Jean told him Kroger would be sorry as she was probably their biggest consumer of Organic Food. She added that taxpayers money paid for Kroger's parking lot and we had every right to be there.

I too was one of Kroger's biggest fans. As a Health Educator I'd been teaching free classes on Healthy Alternatives for over 9 years at the Decatur Library and recommended Kroger's fine Produce section for heart healthy foods.

Our arrival at the Police Station was greeted with curiosity. Grandmothers being fingerprinted and treated as criminals was obviously unusual. I felt vindicated when one officer said he hoped he'd be as fit and committed to helping others as we were when he reached our age.  Another, slumped in a chair guzzling a soda, got Jean's attention when she spied 3 aluminum cans in the trash.

Ever the environmentalist, Jean forgot her fear of incarceration and asked if the station practiced recycling.

When the guzzler said no, she suggested he set the example and start it himself. When he said he was too lazy, nor did he care, Jean scolded him outrightly. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You're not a good patriot at all," she said. He had the grace to look sheepish.

My spouse, a West Point Alumnus drilled in the code of Duty, Honor, Country, is a staunch conservative. How would he respond to his wife's arrest?

On returning safely home I found his message on the answering machine: "So my wife's a 'Certified Activist,' now!" he joked. He said he'd been to the police station to bail us out but the police wouldn't let him see us.

When he got home a little while later he relieved Jean Tune's apprehension, as well. He said he'd take our errant Otogenarian and I to dinner if Jean promised not to get belligerent and get us all arrested. Our Court Date is November 20th. We're hoping community support will cause the Judge to see we were acting as good citizens by informing people of their right to know what's in the food they buy.

--Gerry Coffey, Wife, Mother, Grandmother


2. neRAGE biotechnology newswire
The following stories and events were posted to the on the biotechnology newswire over the last 7 days. You too can post, comment, and search for some of the latest information on biotechnology. Stop by, add your stories, read, add events to our calendar and more!
upcoming events
Event date: 11/29/2002
Event title: Buy Nothing Day: Chicago Suburbs

Event date: 12/02/2002
Event title: Vermonter's Say No to GMOs

Event date: 01/06/2003
Event title: Vermonter's Say No to GMOs

Event date: 03/16/2003
Event title: Conference on Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals

Event date: 03/17/2003
Event title: Conference on Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals

| news stories                  |

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US: Alarms Sound Over Biopharming- GE Crops in Doubt

Grandmother Arrested In Campaign Against GE Food Reports Back

CA: Farmers Union Sees Conflict in Monsanto Advisory Pannel

GE Roundup Trait More Effective in Soy Than Corn

Iowans say biotech moratorium harms farms, research

US: ProdiGene Won't Stop Pharma Corn Production

US: Pharma Corn Spotlights Odds of Contamination

US: ProdiGene Officals Could Go to Jail

Pharmaceutical Corn Debate Continues

Pharma Corn Contamination Prompts Food Industry to Call for Changes in Biotech

Biopharma Corn Contamination Could Be Aids Vaccine or Blood Thickener

U.S. groups feel it is time to challenge EU GM food ban

Why Argentina can't feed itself -  GM soya is destroying livelihoods

UN food agency and rights envoy at odds over GM

Gene Therapy Undergoes a Reevaluation

EU's  Warns U.S. Against  WTO Action Against GM Import Ban

Trader Joes: Holding to GE-Free Pledge

EU Gives 15 Million Pounds To Zambi To Purchase Non-GM Food

ProdiGene-Modified Corn Plant Nearly Gets Into U.S. Food Supply

Soybeans Mixed With Pharma Corn

African Consumer Leaders' Conference on Biotechnology & Food Security

Biotech fears jeopardize sale of U.S. crops

Massive Famine Stalks Ethiopia

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