Demonstrators and supporters from the GMO Free Orange County organization, participate in the annual March Against Monsanto walk along South Coast highway in downtown Laguna on Saturday. GMO's are genetically modified organisms which are found in many foods that allegedly cause health problems. (Don Leach, Coastline Pilot / May 24, 2014)

  • Related
  • Jeremiah Dobruck Signature

  • Topics
  • Laws and Legislation
  • Monsanto Company
  • Food and Drug Administration

Dressed as a bee, Tacy Madlener stood on the sidewalk along Coast Highway and waved a sign saying "Buzz off Monsanto."

She was one of about 200 people in Laguna Beach Saturday morning protesting Monsanto Co., the world's largest seed-maker. The company has become the face of evil for people like Madlener who are opposed to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food supply.

The volunteer group GMO Free Orange County periodically hosts anti-GMO rallies in the county. The group helped organize Saturday's demonstration in Laguna as part of worldwide event called March Against Monsanto with protests across the globe.

"I'm tired of a handful of corporations poisoning our children," Madlener said with her daughter at her side.

Other marchers around her carried signs saying "GMOs: The new tobacco" and "Monsanto should be called MonSINto."

The FDA says genetically engineered crops have been around for decades and must meet the same safety requirements as non-engineered plants, but marchers Saturday said they at least deserve to know what they're putting in their bodies.

Many of them decried the defeat of Proposition 37, a 2012 ballot initiative that would have required labels on some genetically altered foods.

Nancy Jensen, a Costa Mesa resident, carried a sign saying "I am not a science experiment."

The ultimate goal of the march is banning GMOs, she said.

In the meantime, Jensen avoids genetically altered foods as best she can, but "It's expensive to eat organic," she said.

Despite Prop. 37's defeat, GMO opponents might have another chance at mandating labeling.

The California Senate is considering SB 1381, which would require retail food packages to list any genetically engineered ingredients.

Madlener urged her fellow protesters to call their state representatives in support of the bill.

"We don't vote this time, they do," she said.