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Organic Consumers Association

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OCA Statement on Senate Bill to Preempt State GMO Labeling Laws

Attempt to Preempt Vermont Labeling Law is an egregious attack on state and consumer rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2016
    
CONTACT:
Organic Consumers Association: Katherine Paul, 207-653-3090, katherine@organicconsumers.org

FINLAND, Minn. – The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) issued the following statement today on a bill introduced Friday, by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), which would preempt Vermont and other states from enacting GMO labeling laws, and also substitute a voluntary federal standard for labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs):

Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association, said:

“The introduction of this bill is just another example of U.S. politicians doing the bidding of Monsanto and giant food corporations. It is an egregious attack on states’ rights, and consumer rights. The Organic Consumers Association will pull out all the stops to prevent this bill from passing in the Senate.

“Sen. Roberts was quoted as saying that ‘all sorts of bad things’ will happen if food companies are required to comply with Vermont’s law. Yet many of these same corporations can provide clear, on-package labels for consumers in other countries. Campbell’s Soup Co. recently announced it will provide on-package labels on all of its products that contain GMOs—at no added cost to consumers.

“Given all of the health and environmental concerns around GMOs, including the fact that Monsanto’s Roundup is classified as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by the World Health Organization, it’s time for U.S. politicians to start passing laws that protect consumers, not corporations.”

According to media reports, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) will offer amendments to the Roberts bill during a Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry mark-up session on Thursday, February 25. Amendments floated behind the scenes so far include one that would substitute QR codes for on-package labels, and one that would delay, rather than preempt, Vermont.

“Sen. Stabenow claims to support consumers’ right to know, but says she opposes Vermont’s law because it will lead to a ‘messy patchwork’ of state laws, Cummins said. “If that were true, all Sen. Stabenow has to do is support a mandatory federal labeling law, one whose standards meet or exceed those of the Vermont law. Instead, she has so far talked only about a voluntary federal solution, which is no solution at all. We can only conclude that she the Senator from Michigan is more concerned about protecting her corporate donors, which include Dow, Kellogg’s and Monsanto, than she is about serving her constituents.”

Sources:

Dow campaign contributions to Sen. Stabenow

Kellogg’s campaign contributions to Sen. Stabenow

Sen. Roberts’ bill to preempt GMO labeling

Legal analysis of states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws.

Letter from state lawmakers on states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws

Statement on “no consensus” on GMO safety.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

 

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