This legislation is important because people have a right to know what is in the food they and their children eat. The more information we have, the better consumers we become. This is not a radical idea. It is why over 60 countries around the world have passed GMO labeling laws.
Unfortunately, the major agribusiness and bio-tech companies disagree. They do not believe people have a right to know what's in the food they eat. That is why they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions to overturn the GMO right-to-know legislation that states have already passed and that many other states are on the verge of passing.
A bill in the Senate would overrule Vermont's law, and prevent states from passing similar laws. This bill, introduced by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will be coming up for a vote on Wednesday or Thursday of next week. It must be defeated.
Their goal is to deny states the right to go forward in this area and to pass legislation that is useless and with no value to consumers. And, if we don't stop them, they may just succeed.
On Thursday evening, with no hearings and no debate, a corporate-backed bill was introduced on to the floor by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
This legislation would create a confusing, misleading and unenforceable national standard for labeling GMOs. Instead of a uniform labeling standard like Vermont's law, the language allows text, symbols, or an electronic code to be used. This is intentionally confusing to consumers, and the information may be entirely inaccessible if the consumer does not have access to the internet.
Perhaps most shockingly, this bill imposes no penalties whatsoever for violating the labeling requirement, making the law essentially meaningless. Thus, this is a weak bill, full of loopholes, without any requirement to comply.
The issue of labeling our food isn't controversial. The overwhelming majority of Americans favor GMO labeling. People have a right to know what is in the food they eat. The Senate shouldn't stop states from passing laws that let that happen.
Congress must stand up to the demands of Monsanto and other multi-national food industry corporations and reject this outrageous, weak, and confusing bill. I will continue to do my best to defeat it, and take the necessary action to protect Vermont's GMO labeling efforts. But I need you with me in order to ensure its defeat.