State GMO labeling proposals may have a bigger foe than the deep pockets of the biotech industry – Congress.
Yes, the legislative body with the worst approval rating in history may soon enact a nationwide ban on the right for Americans to know what is in their food.
Last week a GMO labeling ban bill was introduced in Congress that would put the federal government in charge of supervising the labeling of all food products with genetically modified ingredients – and would ban states from requiring labeling.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, as the GMO labeling bill is called, would mandate that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conduct a safety product review before a food enters the open market. On its face, this may sound like a decent attempt at ensuring the safety of the American food supply, but first impressions are not always accurate. Since the FDA, USDA, and EPA have absolutely no problem approving nearly all GMO crops and herbicides which come up for review now, the bill will have little to no impact for those concerned about eating only naturally grown food. The FDA, no doubt, will approve all or nearly all GMO foods.
President Obama has appointed a host of former Monsanto executives to key leadership posts in the USDA, FDA, and the EPA.
Republican Kansas Representative Mike Pompeo, the bill’s sponsor, seemed to acknowledge that GMO foods would be approved as safe.
“Dozens of states,” he wrote in a column for The Wichita Eagle, “are considering legislation that would require warning labels on food products containing ingredients derived from biotechnology, or GMOs. These ingredients, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets, are absolutely safe.
“The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act would simply require the Food and Drug Administration, our nation’s foremost food-safety agency, to have the sole authority to label genetically modified foods.”
Supporters of GMO labeling, though, said the bill does exactly opposite of what is needed.
“Voluntary labeling of GE foods has not worked,” said Darren Mahaffy, vice president of marketing at Nature’s Path Foods, told OrganicAuthority.com. “Companies have been able to disclose the presence of GE ingredients since 2001, and not one company has done so. This leaves consumers more confused than ever. It’s time for FDA to require mandatory GE labeling.”
Said Violet Batcha, communications manager at Just Label It, “This legislation would not only pre-empt states from taking any steps towards labeling in the future, but nullify the efforts in more than 30 states that are currently working to require GE labeling.”
The Environmental Working Group is calling the bill the “Deny Americans The Right To Know Act.”
Two high-level reports earlier this year stated that GMO crops do not necessarily produce larger yields and that the use of chemical pesticides in America has grown significantly since the introduction of genetically engineered crops into the marketplace.
Pompeo added, “If passed, this would be a big win for farmers nationwide.”
Pompeo, though, was not talking about organic farmers. Organic farmers in not only America but nationwide are bringing strong lawsuits against biotech producers and nearby farmers over GMO cross-contamination. Such contamination has the potential to not only destroy an entire harvest, but the land upon which the organic crops were grown.
In the United States, approximately 80 percent of packaged foods contain genetically modified ingredients. About two dozen states are currently in the process of completing or preparing a vote on GMO labeling proposals
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