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By Holly Richmond, Grist 

Rachel Parent is 14 and has the crazy idea that GMOs should be labeled in food. (What’s next, attacking those sweet carcinogens in our makeup?!) The young activist has been making public speeches about GMOs since age 12, when my idea of “making a public statement” was layering my dad’s flannel shirt over a clearance American Eagle tee. Parent recently challenged Canadian TV personality Kevin O’Leary to a debate about GMOs after he said “Stupid people protest about Monsanto”:

Have me on your show next week, and if you promise not to use the word “stupid,” I won’t use the word “fascist.”


Gems include O’Leary asking patronizingly, “You know what a lobbyist is, right?”, accusing her of being a shill for devious, mustache-twirling environmentalists, and telling her she’ll change her mind when she gets older.

Parent, in contrast, comes across as articulate and respectful. O’Leary equates denying people in developing countries GM food with handing them a death sentence, while Parent states that she simply thinks genetically modified food should be labeled for the consumer to decide. “They can keep growing [GMOs] as long as they continue to test and also give us the choice. Because it’s our right to know,” Parent says at one point. “I’m not anti-science, but I’m for responsible science and ethical progress.” Ugh, those teens and their radical ideals!

O’Leary says it’s fine that Monsanto’s never tested its GM products for more than 90 days, because little independent groups like Parent’s will, adding:

“Rachel, we’re IN a long-term study. You’re eating genetically modified food whether you like it or not.”


This article was written by Holly Richmond and published on Grist August 6, 2013

1 thought on “14-year-old Debates GMOs With Condescending TV Host”

  1. Right or wrong, this girl is pretty bad-ass. I was not nearly this articulate or informed at only 14. She raises a great point, I just hope she knows the rare, few not-so-evil GMO creations. Also, she should mention all the current allergies that are clearly GMO related!

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