CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnatians joined a global movement on Saturday to protest against genetically engineered foods and giant biotech corporation Monsanto.
"March Against Monsanto" in Cincinnati was one of 400 demonstrations worldwide raising awareness of the dangers posed by genetically modified foods and calling for the mandatory labeling of products that contain them.
Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides and also increase crop yields. Monsanto, based in St. Louis, dominates the market of genetically modified seeds
Opponents of genetically modified foods believe they can lead to health problems and harm the environment. They're calling for any food product with genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such.
Nancy Pessler grew up a quarter mile from a Monsanto plant in Addyston, Ohio and joined the downtown rally on Saturday. Pessler suffers from a rare autoimmune disease and believes growing up near the plant is partly to blame. Towns near Monsanto factories in the 1970s found elevated levels of PCB pollution, a toxic chemical, in their areas.
"I find it very suspicious," said Pessler, who lived near the factory for the first 18 years of her life. She said multiple people in the same area, including three of her family members, suffer from rare medical conditions.
Monsanto maintains that their biotechnology helps farmers grow more food and reduces the impact of farming, saying studies have shown genetically modified crops to be just as safe as any other crop.
The local demonstrators marched Saturday in Piatt Park and around the Taste of Cincinnati event.