As you may have seen in the news, this recently passed house bill would prevent mandatory GMO labeling. Legislation would bar states and local government from requiring labeling on products that include genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This bill is now headed to the U.S. Senate. If passed, it would null and void labeling laws already passed in three states: Vermont, Connecticut and Maine.
Many other states have proposed similar legislation to require food industries to label their GMO products. California and Washington State are very interested in helping to defeat anti-GMO proposals.
Supporters claim that GMOs are proven safe. Even the largest food companies say GMO foods are safe and that labels would be misleading. They believe the laws around the country would make things expensive for the manufactures and confusing for consumers.
Opponents stated that more than 60 other countries require labeling of GMO foods and consumers have the right to know what their food is made of. Why should the U.S. be any different?
Here is what some of the Representatives had to say:
• “We cannot continue to keep Americans in the dark about the food they eat,” Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio said, according to Food Safety News.
• An article on cbsnews.com states “The reality is, biotechnology has time and time again proved safe,” the bill’s sponsor, Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, said as debate began. “We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists.”
• “It (the bill) makes it impossible for people to know what they are purchasing and eating. It is an attack on transparency,’ said Representative John Conyers Jr., a Democrat, in floor debate, according to CNBC.
• According to Reuters, Representative Jim McGovern said the following in an interview about his opposition to the bill, “Poll after poll shows the majority of Americans want to know if their food contains GMOs. I have this radical idea we ought to give the American people what they want.”
• According to CNBC, Representative G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat, said the bill would require regulators to examine the safety profile of new GMO foods, replacing a voluntary consultation process, and set a national standard for voluntary GMO labeling.
Labeling on a federal level makes GMO labeling completely voluntary. The United States Agriculture Department has offered a new government certification and labeling for non- genetically modified foods. For more on this certification consider reading the article “GMO-Free Certification.”
Representing more than 300 food companies, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has been a key player aiming to squash state efforts to force labeling of GMO foods. Many believe that this bill will stall in the Senate, but there is a growing support for the bill as well.
If this bill goes through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be required to be the enforcer. In 1992 the FDA first allowed the sale and consumption of GMO products.
Where do you stand?