Rep. K. Michael Conoway, chairman of House Agriculture Committee (photo: Lauren Victoria Burke, AP)
Republicans in the U.S. House have swiftly moved to adopt legislation that would prohibit states from adopting laws requiring labels on food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO).
The House Committee on Agriculture this week approved HR 1599, which would create a voluntary federal labeling standard while also preventing states from forcing companies to put GMO labels on their foods. The bill, which cleared the committee without debate, is now headed to the House floor.
“Members of Congress are really looking for a federal solution here,” Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, told The Hill. “I think we’re going to get to that rubber-meets-the-road point where members realize they are being sold on a bill that doesn’t solve anything consumers are asking for, which is a mandatory labeling standard.”
Critics have called HR 1599 the “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts” after the company that has long opposed GMO labels, as well as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.
Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association characterized the legislation as “anti-consumer,” “anti-democracy and anti-state’s rights.”
Vermont already has a law in place requiring GMO products to be labeled as such. Big Food has been fighting in court to get the law overturned.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley
To Learn More:
Food Disaster: Republicans Stomp on GMO Labeling (by Katherine Paul, AlterNet)
GMO Bill Intensifies Federal Food Fight (by Lydia Wheeler, The Hill)
Vermont First State to Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)