Proponents of Frankenfoods GMOs won the battle, but not the war. The House Agriculture Committee passed a measure prohibiting mandatory labeling and local regulation of genetically engineered crops. The measure must first be passed by the full House before going to the Senate. Supporters want this to happen before the August recess. If this anti-truth-in-labeling notion becomes law, we the people are screwed. Would you like a side of cancer with your corn?
According to Pamela Bailey, CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), “This… legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food rather than a 50 state patchwork of labeling laws that will only prove costly and confusing for consumers, farmers and food manufacturers.”
Seriously? Has she eaten too many GMOs? “[A]ccurate, consistent information about their food” so long as the truth is hidden from those who eat it. I believe we have the right to know exactly what’s in our food! H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (SAFA) would take that right, crumple it up and throw it in the trash.
SAFA’s supporters believe that truthful labeling would confuse us. Granted, some people may not be able to figure out what “This product contains GMOs” or the opposite, “This product is GMO-free” means. They are not the majority, however. Further, those people probably wouldn’t know a GMO from a hole in ground anyway. The rest of us aren’t that stupid, though.
Further arguments for SAFA include the opinion that mandatory truthful labeling would increase the cost of food. Really? Adding one extra line of text to a label is going to make my sweet potatoes jump from $0.99 to $2.00? What are they printing it with, gold ink? That argument is so lame it needs to be shot.
Lastly, SAFA’s friends believe that Frankenfoods are already well regulated and are just as safe and healthful as non-GMO foods. Someone must have spiked the punch! The jury is still out on this particular detail. Some studies say “safe,” while others have grave concerns over glyphosate. The herbicide is used on many GMO crop and studies show that it leaves a residue in the foods. The World Health Organization classified it as “probably” carcinogenic in humans earlier this year.
It would seem to me that the logical thing to do would be a definitive independent third-party study. “Probably” carcinogenic is worthy of more investigation before the government bans mandatory labeling.
It doesn’t look like we’re getting that study now, but maybe it will come as SAFA’s detractors, such as Scott Faber, the executive director of the advocacy group Just Label It, continue their objections. Faber said, “The real fight will be in the Senate. This is from over.”
Going beyond even the fundamental right to know what we’re eating, SAFA’s opponents object because it would overturn state laws regarding GMO labeling. It would also prevent state and local governments from GMO crop regulation efforts. On top of all that, SAFA ties the FDA’s hands, prohibiting the agency from developing a mandatory GMO labeling standard. Basically, SAFA gives free rein to Big Ag giants, such as Monsanto, to do whatever they please with our food supply.
As Henry Kissinger once said, “Control food and you control the people.”