The US House just passed a bill banning states from passing their own laws requiring GMO labels.
Do consumers deserve to know what’s in their food? The House of Representatives just voted to make that harder, when on Thursday they passed a bill banning states from passing their own laws requiring GMO labels.
The “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,” which passed 275-150, will create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients.
Representative Mike Pompeo of Monsanto, who authored the bill, called mandatory labeling laws – which have already been passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine – “unnecessarily costly given that GMos have been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
“Precisely zero pieces of credible evidence have been presented that foods produced with biotechnology pose any risk to our health and safety,” Pompeo said. “We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists.”
Opponents are pushing back against the legislation, however, saying it will keep consumers from knowing what is in their food, and stop FDA from crafting a national GMO-labeling solution.
If you are not yet aware, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are seeds of certain crops engineered to resist herbicides. Common in America’s corn and soybean crops, most GMO yields are used to feed animals for slaughter or are turned into processed foods such as high-fructose corn syrup. While government officials and the food industry claim GMOs are safe, consumer advocates seeking transparency on labels argue that no one really knows the long-term impacts of genetically modified crops.
Either way, don’t consumers deserve to know what’s in their food?
Consumer groups, backed by Democrats including Reps. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), are calling the bill the Denying Americans the Right to Know Act.
“American families deserve to know what they are eating and feeding to their children,” DeLauro told reporters Wednesday. “The FDA already requires clear labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and food processes. GMOs should be no different.”
Supporters of the legislation claim a patchwork of labeling laws at the state level would drive up food costs.
Citing a study conducted by a Cornell University professor, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said state-level GMO labeling mandates would increase grocery prices for a family of four by as much as $500 per year. The study also states that mandatory state-level labeling would cost food and beverage manufacturers millions of dollars to change food labels and supply chain systems.
It’s been repeatedly shown that 90%+ of Americans desire GMO labeling; the reason biotech companies are pushing for suppression is because they know a minimum of 56% of consumers would refrain from purchasing and consuming GMO-containing foods, which would equate to a loss of profit.
Democrats represent many Americans, then, by maintaining that labeling would ensure transparency. “What’s the problem with letting consumers know what they are buying?” asked Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
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