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FOOD DRINK NUTRITION DIET FOOD GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOS) : LAW: LEGISLATION : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : UNITED STATES: STATES: VERMONT : FOOD LABELING : SCIENCE: Feds Mandatory GMO Labeling Law Would Mislead Consumers, Legitimize Bad Science

David P. Dillard
 

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FOOD DRINK NUTRITION DIET FOOD GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOS) :

LAW: LEGISLATION :

UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT :

UNITED STATES: STATES: VERMONT :

FOOD LABELING :

SCIENCE :

COUNTRIES: BRAZIL:

As Congress Dickers over GMO Labeling, Brazil May Offer Path Forward


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As Congress Dickers over GMO Labeling, Brazil May Offer Path Forward

Steven Cerier

June 22, 2016

Genetic Literacy Project

Genetic Literacy Project

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/06/22/ congress-dickers-gmo-labeling-brazil-may-offer-path-forward/

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/hrvx4co

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With the GMO labeling law set to go into effect in Vermont on July 1, Congress scrambles to find a consensus on a compromise national law. If the legislation fails and court challenges are rebuffed, Vermont, which has the smallest population of any state except Wyoming, may end up setting a national standard on a highly contentious issue.

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Some legislators are fearful labeling, if imposed hastily, could stigmatize many safe and healthy foods. The experience in Brazil, a major GMO growing country with strict labeling laws, suggests there may be a constructive way forward.

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The Senate has been grappling with trying to write a nationwide GM labeling law for months. In March it failed to advance a bill that would have banned states from creating their own GM labeling laws in favor of measures that would have allowed food companies to voluntarily label their foods. It should be noted that the measure also included a trigger for mandatory labeling in the event the food industry did not adequately participate in voluntarily labeling their genetically engineered ingredients.

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Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, has been deep in negotiations with farm state Senators in an attempt to reach a last minute compromise. Senator Stabenow has said her intent is to protect manufacturers from the burdensome maze of requirements that would result from a patchwork of state laws, and to provide consumers with reliable, scientific-based product ingredient information.

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Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, has indicated his willingness to collaborate on a compromise bill that would create federal GMO-labeling standards. He said the failure to reach a compromise could represent a wrecking ball to the entire food industry. We have to get it fixed. Thats the bottom line, and we are running out of time.

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Vermonts impact on the food industry

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After several defeats in costly referendums, such as those in California and Oregon, and strenuous lobbying efforts in State legislatures, the GM labeling movement achieved its first major victory in Vermont when the legislature in 2014 passed and the Governor signed a labeling bill that goes into effect on July 1.

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The law is being challenged by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and three other trade associations that claims it violates the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Commerce clause of the Constitution. Plaintiffs also allege the labeling requirements force the manufacturers to make statements they do not want to make, prohibit them from making statements they do want to make, are not rational, discriminate against out-of-state manufacturers, and interfere with the federal food-labeling regulatory regime.

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The impending Vermont law has already had a significant impact on the food industry. Several major food companies such as such as Campbell Soup, General Mills, Mars, Pepsi Cola, Kelloggs and ConAgra Foods have announced they will begin to label foods that contain GM ingredients. An article in the Minneapolis StarTribune indicated that the food companys willingness to label their GM products was an indication the food lobby may have lost a long, expensive war against mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms and have become resigned to labeling.

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Asked whether General Mills would now accept a national law that requires mandatory on-package GMO labels, a spokeswoman said, The most important thing at this point is that we set a national standard so that we have certainty moving forward.

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What blocks a compromise?

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack who favors mandatory labeling of GMO food, has urged Congress to act to create a national system of GMO labeling. Without such a system, he warned there would be no consistency, no predictability and no stability in labeling regulations and the consumer can be easily confused because everybody might do it slightly different and theres no standard.

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A major problem undermining efforts to reach a compromise is that the House of Representatives passed a voluntary labeling bill in July 2015. Texas Republican Congressman Mike Conaway, who is the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, indicated he is committed to voluntary labeling and has urged Senator Stabenow to move closer to his position. Any bill that is ultimately reached in the Senate will have to be reconciled with the one passed in the House before it can be voted on by Congress and become law.


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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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