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Hundreds In Miami March For Right To Know What's In Their Food

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Luis Hernandez
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WLRN

It started with a trickle, a couple dozen people organizing signs and props at the Metromover station near the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Eventually, it grew to a few hundred. These were protestors from groups like Occupy Miami, Green Party of Florida and GMO Free Florida.

The groups were marching in solidarity for labeling of genetically modified foods, or what has become known as GMOs. One of the biggest manufacturers of GMOs, and the main target of the criticism from this weekend's protest, is Monsanto.

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Credit Luis Hernandez / WLRN
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WLRN
Hundreds of protestors stopped traffic during part of their march on Saturday.

GM foods are foods that farmers and researchers have genetically altered by modifying the DNA. It's done usually to make the foods more resistant to pests and insecticides. People opposed to this process believe GMOs have led to increases in food allergies and other health problems.

A Pew Research Center poll shows that 88 percent of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science say GMOs are safe.

This is the third year of the march. It started at the Metromover station at the Arsht Center. Eventually, the crowd moved north on Biscayne Boulevard toward the Publix store. 

They gathered there for about 10 minutes before making their way northeast toward Margret Pace Park and back around to the Metromover station.

Organizers of the event say last year about a thousand people showed up. In the first year, they claim around 2,000 attended. This march was coordinated with similar marches across the country in dozens of other U.S. and international cities.

Organizers of the march were also promoting the passage of HB351, Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods. They were also protesting the fast-tracking authority on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. 

One of the marchers, and guest speakers, was Jill Stein, potential presidential candidate of the Green Party. She spoke about the need to hold companies like Monsanto accountable and discussed some of the other items on the Green Party platform.

Charla Lord from the Monsanto Company responded to the march in Miami. 

The 22,000 people of Monsanto are committed to having an open dialogue about food and agriculture – we’re proud of the work we do, and we’re eager for people to know more about us.  We’re also proud of our collaboration with farmers and partnering organizations that help make a more balanced meal accessible for everyone.  Our goal is to help farmers do this in a more sustainable way using fewer resources and having a smaller impact on the environment.  We know people have different points of view on these topics, and it’s important that they’re able to express and share them.