Bill Blocking GMO Label Requirements By States Passes U.S. House

monsanto gmoDespite the overwhelming scientific consensus that genetically modified foods are safe for consumption, a couple of states have passed laws requiring labels for any foods produced using this technology. These states, urged on by the organic industry lobby, would force food manufacturers to place labels on their food that would re-enforce the narrative pushed by industry groups like Organic Consumers Association, GMO Inside and others that the technology is unsafe.


Vermont was one of the states that passed a GMO labeling law, and the legislation claims that, “There have been no long-term or epidemiologic studies in the United States that examine the safety of human consumption of genetically engineered foods.” However, that statement is false as thousands of studies have been done which prove that foods produced using genetic modification are indeed safe – a fact that the multi-billion dollar organic industry or Big Organic likes to ignore.

Yes, you heard that right, organic foods are a multi-billion dollar industry and it has a coalition of activists that work on their behalf. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the partners, including Vani Hari (aka Food Babe), that GMO Inside lists on their coalition page. These activists and the industry they represent have pushed for labels which are designed to scare consumers, not to give them the “right to know” as claimed by opponents of The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015.

The House on Thursday passed hotly contested legislation that would keep states from issuing mandatory labeling laws for foods that contain genetically modified organisms, often called GMOs.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, which passed 275-150, would instead create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of foods with GMO ingredients.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who authored the bill, called mandatory labeling laws — which have already 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 have pushed back against the legislation, saying it will keep consumers from knowing what’s in their food and stop FDA from crafting a national GMO-labeling solution. (Source)

It is important to point out that The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 does not ban labels as some activists are claiming, but it gives the authority to do so to the Food and Drug Administration, instead of allowing states to create their own different and confusing set of laws. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, which is welcomed by farmers and manufacturers, would create uniform labeling standards, instead of the various local regulations based on discredited studies like Seralini and promoted by the $35 billion organic industry.


I agree with the left on many issues, but the anti-GMO campaign for labeling laws which are not based on science and promoted by charlatans like Mike Adams or Vani Hari is where I differ. The appeal to nature fallacy is an appeal to emotion rather than reason, an area where liberals (including Bernie Sanders) have a weak spot, especially given their valid mistrust of corporate interests. I know, because I used to be one of those people, and I briefly fell for the glossy advertising and the fear-mongering campaigns like March Against Monsanto.

The GMO labeling law controversy is not David vs Goliath. It is not a grassroots campaign against an evil empire that is led by “Monsatan” as they like to call the only biotech company they can usually name. It is a battle by one industry pretending that they’re the underdog who is just looking out for you while they battle against another industry for a share of the valuable American food market. Don’t believe me? Whole Foods, which helped shape the USDA Organic Standards, had over $14 billion in sales last year, thanks in part to their campaign to make higher-priced organic foods more mainstream. Oh yeah, and for the liberals who shop there, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that their founder, John Mackey is also a libertarian.

This isn’t to say that the conventional food industry is without their own set of faults, but fear mongering and disguising multi-billion dollar capitalism as consumer activism is extremely shady to say the least. If we are going to label foods, it should be based on science and at the federal level (commerce clause anyone?) rather than a patchwork of state and local laws based on debunked studies and appeal to nature fallacies.



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  • strayaway

    As labeling food is not a specific power designated to the federal government but not prohibited to state government and free speech (labeling) cannot be regulated by Congress, It seems reasonable for Vermont to allow its citizens to know if food is GMO. The House also recently passed legislation that would prohibit labeling indicating the country of origin of food. I consider this latter incident of censorship to be even more problematic because countries like Chile and China do not, for instance, have our FDA regulating their use of pesticides.

    Corn has been modified by Monsanto to tolerate Roundup. That’s pretty clever but Roundup resistant weeds have developed requiring higher and higher applications of Roundup to where it is showing up in breast milk in levels considered dangerous by EU scientists and killing off the butterflies. If a farm field is infested with GMO corn the birds brought in, Monsanto has been known to sue farmers for the unauthorized use of its patented corn. Even our FDA and USDA have been infested with a revolving door of Monsanto executives under Bush and Obama. Judges Thomas and Kagen both represented Monsanto. So there are other reasons for individuals to want to know what is in there food besides just whether or not GMO’s themselves are safe. So what’s the harm in providing transparency?

    It isn’t just Monsanto. Dow Chemical has been given permission to begin field testing its own GMO’s based on chemicals also found in Agent Orange. There is no way of knowing what that crop duster is spraying on fields along the interstate but some of us are curious to know what we are eating.

    • Dr. Jones

      That is complete bullcrap. If congress cannot regulate labeling then I am free to sell sugar pills as real medicine and put a sticker on a hamburger that says it is only 10 calories. The FDA has a well established ability to regulate the labeling of food and drugs as mandated by congress and already tested by the courts.

    • Jerome Haltom

      The power derives from the Interstate Commerce Clause. That’s where the Congress obtains it’s Constitutional authority for delegating operations to FDA.

      • strayaway

        Where does it say that the commerce clause trumps the 1st and 10th Amendments? All the Commerce Clause says the United States Congress shall have power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The first Amendment says that Congress shall make NO law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” but you are claiming that the Commerce Clause does allow the federal government to censor what may me written on labels. I realize that courts have sided with big corporations and even made them legal people. I just don’t find it in the Constitution. The 10th amendment, ignored by all Democrats and most Republicans addresses limits to federal powers. But nowhere do I find anything that says the commerce clause overrides the rest of the Constitution.

      • Jerome Haltom

        >but you are claiming that the Commerce Clause does allow the federal government to censor what may me written on labels.

        This is a weird interpretation of how the Constitution works. The First nor Tenth have nothing to do with this.

        The amendments in the Bill of Rights guarantee freedoms to citizens. Not government entities. That means no law can be written that prevents YOU from engaging in speech, as a citizen. But we’re not talking about citizens speaking.

        But the topic under consideration is a law passed by Congress restricting what a State can do. The State has attempted to pass a law MANDATING labels. Congress has simply passed another law which says that they cannot pass that law.

        The only way I can think you mean this is that you think the First Amendment covers all actions of all citizens (or private entities) to write whatever they want for whatever purpose; and therefor the FDA and FCC can have no jurisdiction whatsoever in regulating statements on labels. This is just flat wrong. The First has NEVER been interpreted to allow this throughout the whole of US history. We have always been able to pass laws that make certain actions that involve words illegal. For instance, fraud. It is illegal to lie to somebody to get them to enter into certain classes of business deals. Trademark prevents people from reusing certain words in advertising. Copyright, similar. There are many areas of speech that are not protected. Slander and libel are criminal in some jurisdictions.

      • strayaway

        No I am not claiming that the Commerce Clause allow the federal government to censor. That would be you progressives at this website supporting the federal government’s move to forbid state governments from doing so. Usually, if the federal government sets some minimum such as a minimum wage, state governments can have higher standards. But in this matter, Manny is arguing that states must be forbidden their right to exceed the information offered by the federal government.

        You are also wrong about your second contention. Repeat, “Congress shall make NO law… abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn’t specify that states acting in its citizens’ interest is the exception to “No law”.

        Fraud, slander, etc, invite lawsuits for the damages caused. The First Amendment does allow you to yell “fire” in a theater, but b people who are trampled will probably sue you for the results of your action.

        I am not surprised to find this support for Monsanto on this page. Democrats have been as supportive of corporatism as Republicans with exceptions of a few like Kucinich and Sanders.

      • Jerome Haltom

        >But in this matter, Manny is arguing that states must be forbidden their right to exceed the information offered by the federal government.

        Which is perfectly permissible. They have Constitutional authority to set labeling standards if they choose to, and they have. You can disagree with the standards themselves if you want, but it’s not unconstitutional.

        >You are also wrong about your second contention. Repeat, “Congress shall make NO law… abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn’t specify that states acting in its citizens’ interest is the exception to “No law”.

        No, but over 230 years of interpretation does. There are many forms of speech which have always been considered prohibitable. The INTENTIONS of the people who wrote the passage have always been considered. Your fire thing is kind of wrong. The current situation along those lines is that Congress CAN prohibit speech that would lead to “imminent lawless action.” “Clear and present danger” was eliminated in the late 69’s by the Brandenburg case. It was however replaced with another test.

        My point is that at NO point in our entire history has the First Amendment been interpreted to simply be a scape goat for any words. And this remains true.

        >Fraud, slander, etc, invite lawsuits for the damages caused.

        No, in at least 12 states that I know of, they are literally criminal. They are hard to prosecute, yes. But there are literally criminal statutes that are enforceable and have been. Not just civil.

        >I am not surprised to find this support for Monsanto on this page. Democrats have been as supportive of corporatism as Republicans with exceptions of a few like Kucinich and Sanders.

        No idea what this is about. I have talked exclusively about legality of certain laws, not yet whether they are themselves right or wrong.

        So I will now. I would leave labeling standards in the hands of a body dedicated to investigating harm and necessity of those standards, however. I would not allow states to simply invent whatever rules they want here, at least without a similar state body to the FDA to evaluate those proposed rules and their necessity and scientific validity.

      • strayaway

        It’s a violation of the 1st. Amendment to restrict speech. If Vermont is not lying about the contents, what on earth is wrong with more transparency than the federal government is offering? Vermont wasn’t even claiming that GMO’s were a bad thing. Vermont only wanted to list this fact for consumers to better make up their own minds about purchasing such products for whatever reason. Vermont did not prevent the federal government from labeling or not labeling the GMO content of foods. Vermont did not quarrel with any FDA standards. Vermont did not contradict anything the federal government chose to require on the label. Maybe some consumers will want to buy GMO products because they hate butterflies. It doesn’t matter how Vermonters respond to this information. They are adults and should be treated as such. Let them decide for themselves.

      • Christian Abel

        “It’s a violation of the 1st. Amendment to restrict speech”

        It’s a violation of the 1st. Amendment to restrict lack of speech.

        “Vermont only wanted to list this fact for consumers to better make up their own minds about purchasing such products for whatever reason.”

        How could that help?

        What about “food manipulated by muslims” mandatory labelling. Cause you know, consumers have a right to know.

      • strayaway

        First Amendment. Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…

        The question is not to question the reasoning of the people of Vermont. The question is whether they have that right. Vermont also elected a socialist Senator and attempted to be the first state to have an affordable single payer health care plan.

        Your latter point is silly but if one state wanted to label food as halal or kosher or allow manufacturers and stores to do so, that should be its right.

    • confabulor_mens

      The claim that glyphosate has been found in breast milk has just recently been tested and found to be totally without merit. Absolutely NO traces of the chemical were found in any test subjects, so FAIL! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150723133120.htm

    • disqus_BNbEfrPmXP

      There is something called the Interstate Commerce Clause.

    • Christian Abel

      “showing up in breast milk in levels considered dangerous by EU scientists”

      What levels?
      Which EU scientists?

  • kfreed

    Manny still pushing his Monsanto-derived clap-trap about an imagined “scientific consensus” surrounding GMO food safety. He’s been caught linking directly to Monsanto’s website as a source, so keeping him on the straight and narrow is becoming a part-time occupation. Why he insists on being this dense and deliberately deceitful is anyone’s guess.

    Most environmental scientists actually advocate for labeling GMO products.

    According to the Union of Concerned Scientists the safety of GMO foods is far from over: http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/eight-ways-monsanto-fails.html#.VbPJ5fmsh74

    EU Environmental Sciences: “NO consensus on GMO safety”
    http://www.enveurope.com/content/pdf/s12302-014-0034-1.pdf

    Moreover, Manny insists on referring to the scientific communities in both the U.S. and the E.U. as “conspiracy theorists.” Obviously, the whole world is in on the conspiracy against poor, reliable Monsanto, presumably because liberal computer nerd Bill Gates thinks its the best thing since Microsoft. That’s just a guess, but who can say for sure what motivates Manny to continue to lie on behalf of Monsanto.

    Anyway, not there is by no means a scientific consensus on GMO safety… no matter how often Manny wishes to repeat the claim.

  • kfreed

    You’ll notice, Manny… that your fan club consists of self-proclaimed right-wingers… on par with the types who deny climate change science and evolution:)

    • Jeremy Gould

      His fan club also includes this liberal Botanist, who actually worked in agriculture for a decade. Might want to get yourself educated.

  • kfreed

    Twitter Profile: “Manny Schewitz @MannySchewitz

    Associate editor and writer at Forward Progressives. Ex-Republican, beer enthusiast, hockey fan, gun owner, dog lover and anti-bullshit crusader. Lafayette, LA.”
    https://twitter.com/mannyschewitz

    This explains much. Not everything, but much. His anti-bullshit detector is broken.

    • Barry Hamilton

      You are creepy.

  • kfreed

    Official site of the European Commission (GMO food labeling): http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/new/traceability_labelling/index_en.htm

    Also part of the conspiracy, eh, Manny?

    • Roxanne Stuart

      Countries that require GMO Labeling, or outright Ban GMO’s are listening to the stupidity of Green Peace, which is run by an incompetent Moron. There are no scientific studies that substantiate ANY claim that GMO’s are Toxic, Wrong, or Harmful in any way. Just because people BELIEVE it is, doesn’t mean that it’s true. People are stupid, trust the Science.

  • Petronius_Arbiter_II

    It’s typical of the Monsanto shills to try to portray the whole controversy as if it were ONLY about the safety of eating GMO food. It is not. The biggest dangers posed by GMOs are to the environment and the economy. As a consumer, I would like to be able to know where my money is going on THOSE issues, too.

    • Christian Abel

      What are these dangers?

      • Petronius_Arbiter_II

        Just a few that come to mind:

        Superweeds. Super-insects, i.e. pests that can resist BT powder. Die-offs of beneficial species possibly including honeybees. Possible major disruptions of the food chain for other non-targeted species. Excessive pesticide use and concomitant environmental damage.

        Farmers forced out of business (or in India, driven to suicide, which is why Monsanto has basically become persona non grata in that country) by purchase/production contracts negotiated in bad faith. Farmers aggressively sued because of accidental cross-pollination. Other farmers, who never wanted anything to do with GMO’s, possibly losing organic certification because of accidental cross-pollination.

        Those are just a few that come to mind. The point, which I hope you are NOT missing, is, there’s much more to the controversy than “Are GMO foods safe to eat?”

      • Christian Abel

        There is no such thing as a superweed or super-insect.

        “Die-offs of beneficial species possibly including honeybees.”

        Not happening.

        “Possible major disruptions of the food chain for other non-targeted species.”

        Ridiculous.

        “Excessive pesticide use and concomitant environmental damage”

        Not happening.

      • Christian Abel

        “why Monsanto has basically become persona non grata in that country”

        BS

        The Bt crop are still used and priced higher than regular crops.

        “Other farmers, who never wanted anything to do with GMO’s, possibly losing organic certification because of accidental cross-pollination.”

        And what about KKK crops losing certification when a black person accidentally touch it?

        I have no respect for bigots and intolerant cults.

      • Christian Abel

        “Those are just a few that come to mind.”

        And all of these are bogus.

        “there’s much more to the controversy”

        There is controversy about nuclear power too, it’s still the safest source of energy.

      • Christian Abel

        “Farmers aggressively sued because of accidental cross-pollination.”

        The fact that there is not a single case in the world would not stop you from pulling this crap, would it?

  • rossmore888

    Wow….They are labeled in 60 countries all over the world. Does America now have 3rd world citizens who won’t be allowed to know what is in their FOOD? Oh wait third world countries label their food also, so I don’t know what that makes America. Guy like this clown who worte this article are partially retard or are getting paid off. GMO is doing damage that our current understanding isn’t even close to comprehending. Doctors are dumbfounded by the dis-ease’s that are happening right now, and all they can do is have you take test after test. It is a complete joke! Eat organic, and eat fruits and vegetables as much as you can or you will fall prey to MoSATANo and Company.

    • Christian Abel

      BS