Yesterday’s hearing on H.R. 1599 (passed in July by the U.S. House of Representatives) pretty much resembled a puppet show: conducted by politicians, attended by GMO apologists, with Monsanto and Big Food pulling the strings.
Seven out of eight of the witnesses allowed to testify at the hearing, held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, were nothing more than industry mouthpieces spouting corporate propaganda.
Witnesses included a Vermont dairy farmer who falsely claimed that the genetically engineered crops she uses to feed her dairy herd have reduced the amount of pesticides poisoning Vermont’s soil and waterways. We know the reverse is true. Joanna Lidback, representing the Farm at Wheeler Mountain in Barton, Vt., also used the same old Cornell University study, funded by (and the intellectual property of) the biotech industry, to claim that labels on GMO foods will cost consumers $500 a year. Another claim we know to be false, based on numerous, independent studies.
And then there was the panel’s “consensus” that GMO foods are safe. Of course, no such consensus exists in the real world.
So far, thanks to all of you who have called your Senators, met with your Senators and written to your Senators, a Senate version of H.R. 1599 has yet to be introduced.
But that doesn’t mean a Senate version isn’t coming. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told PoliticoPro (a paywalled site) that she is “working with Republicans” on a Senate bill, because we “need a federal solution by the end of the year.” Sen. Stabenow said she doesn't support H.R. 1599 (the DARK-Deny Americans the Right to Know Act). But she isn't signed on to the S.511 (The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) either. So we're not sure what she has in mind.
Will Stabenow's “federal solution” require GMO foods be labeled? Or will it just be another lukewarm, loophole-riddled, voluntary labeling scheme?
Clearly, we still have our work cut out for us between now and December 31. And as always, we appreciate your support.
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts)