Agriculture Secretary’s comments show great concern about corporate profits, no concern for U.S. consumers and taxpayers who pay his salary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2016
CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association, Katherine Paul, 207.653.3090
FINLAND, Minn. – The Organic Consumers Association today called out U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for fear mongering and misleading Congress on the issue of mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
“Secretary Vilsack’s comments, quoted in PoliticoPro today, are an example of shameless fear mongering, and of loyalty to corporate lobbyists instead of American consumers,” said Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association. “Claiming that enactment of Vermont’s law will cause ‘chaos’ is untrue. There are more than 100 state food labeling laws on the books in the U.S., including one in Vermont governing labels on maple syrup. The only difference between these other laws, and Vermont’s GMO labeling law, is that Monsanto and GMA lobbyists have spent millions of dollars to prevent Vermont’s GMO labeling law from taking effect.”
“Secretary Vilsack, who’s salary is paid by U.S. taxpayers, also implies in his statement today that the food industry needs more time to comply with Vermont’s law. Vermont’s governor signed Act 120 into law in May, 2014, nearly two years ago. If industry had spent its time preparing to comply with the law, instead of suing Vermont, and spending millions to preempt the law, food companies would be ready to roll out those labels in July.
“As Campbell’s Soup Co. recently said, it is not difficult to print “produced with genetic engineering” on a label—and it costs nothing. It is insulting to imply that consumers need more ‘education and acceptance. When it comes to GMOs. Consumers have already educated themselves. They are aware of the health and environmental risks associated with GMO commodity foods, and they are rightfully demanding transparency.
“If the U.S. Senate caves in to Secretary Vilsack’s demands to support Monsanto and the junk food corporations, instead of the majority of Americans who continue to be denied basic information about what’s in their food, it will be one of the biggest betrayals of the American public, at the behest of corporate money, that we have seen in a long time.”
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 consumer advocacy organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability on behalf of more than two million consumers. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.