July 11, 2016
A watered-down GMO labeling bill, which critics say was largely constructed by the GMO industry itself, and is likely to undermine existing labeling legislation at the state level, has just passed the Senate and is also expected to pass in the House of Representatives.
The bill will require food manufacturers to use one of three types of labels to alert consumers to the presence of GMO ingredients in food products. The three label types include a written statement on the package, a link to a website or a phone number, or a quick response (QR) code that can be scanned by a smartphone.
The labeling options are one of the main aspects of the bill that opponents find unacceptable. The use of the QR code will limit access to ingredient information to those who own smartphones, and critics say that is exactly the reason for its inclusion in the bill.
Opponents to the bill argue that only clear text labels are appropriate, and that the other labeling options are only included to make it difficult for consumers to gain information.
The bill will effectively undermine GMO labeling laws that have been passed in states such as Vermont and many municipalities which require clear text labeling on products containing GMOs.
Another issue with the bill is the fact that it leaves loopholes for certain foods to escape being labeled as containing GMOs.
From The New York Times:
“Proponents of labeling insisted that nothing short of text on packages would do. Some, including Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and erstwhile presidential candidate, also raised concerns over the definition in the bill for determining which foods would require labels, a sign that if the bill becomes law, legal challenges will almost certainly follow.”
Under the wording of the bill, many foods containing GMOs may be exempted from labeling. For instance, foods containing oils from GMO soybeans may not require labeling.
No one yet seems to be clear exactly what foods the labeling bill will cover, adding to the confusion and increasing the skepticism regarding its effectiveness.
A victory for the GMO food industry
One thing is clear: the passing of the bill in the Senate is a victory for the GMO foods industry, which spent approximately $100 million in 2015 alone in its efforts to oppose GMO labeling, but which also managed to have the labeling bill drafted in its favor.
The labeling bill is so watered-down and GMO industry favorable, that it has been dubbed an “anti-labeling” bill.
In fact, there will be no penalties or fines imposed for non-compliance, which essentially means that the legislation not only favors the GMO industry, but also has no teeth at all to begin with.
The bill is a “fraud,” according to Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. “It would not require any sort of GMO labeling that’s readable by human beings, and it would destroy the only existing labeling law that requires real, honest labeling (the Vermont law).”
Consumers cannot trust the government to protect them from GMO consumption
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the government and its regulatory agencies cannot be trusted to protect the public. The vast majority – more than 90 percent – of Americans say that they want GMO labeling, but the government has failed to acknowledge this fact and act effectively to meet their demands.
The best approach to protecting your family against GMO food consumption is to buy only local, organic products, and to grow as much of your own healthy, organic food as possible.
Growing organic food at home is easy and practical, even if you have limited space to work with. Raising your own food crops in a small area can be accomplished through incorporating vertical gardening techniques, for example.