The Organic Consumers Association recently called on Congress to reject the King Amendment and any other amendments or riders to the 2013 Farm Bill that would take away states rights to enact laws requiring the labeling of foods containing GMO’s. The OCA also launched a national petition asking consumers to tell Congress that if they pass a Farm Bill with the King Amendment or other similar riders or amendments, their constituents will vote them out of office.
The King Amendment, inserted into the Farm Bill under the guise of protecting interstate commerce, passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on May 15. The Amendment was proposed by Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa) largely in response to a California law stating that by 2015, California would allow only eggs to be sold from hens housed in cages specified by California. Policy analysts emphasise that the amendment, brutally and ambiguously written, could be used to prohibit or prevent any state GMO labeling or food safety laws.
Sources in Washington, D.C., have told the OCA that even if the King Amendment doesn’t make it into the Senate version of the Farm Bill, Monsanto is lobbying its Congressional allies for other measures that would accomplish the preemption or nullification of any state GMO labeling law. Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) had admitted privately that they’ve lost the battle to stop GE food labeling at the state level. Now that states are moving aggressively on labeling laws, the GMA and Monsanto lobbying efforts have been stepped up. On May 14, Maine’s House Agricultural Committee passed a GMO labeling law. On May 10, Vermont passed a labeling bill 99-42, despite massive lobbying by Monsanto and threats to sue the state. Although Monsanto won a razor thin victory, 51%-49%, in a costly, hard fought California GMO labeling ballot initiative last November. BioTech and Big Food now realize that Washington State voters will likely pass I522, an upcoming ballot initiative to panel GMO foods on November 5.
Earlier this year Monsanto slipped its extremely unpopular “Monsanto Protection Act”, an act that gives BioTech immunity from Federal prosecution for planting illegally approved GE crops, into the 2013 Federal Appropriations Bill. During the June 2012 Farm Bill debate, 73 U.S. Senators voted against the right of states to pass mandatory GE food labelling laws. Embolden by these votes and now the House Agricultural Committee vote on the King Amendment, Monsanto has every reason to believe Congress would support a potential nullification of states rights to label.
This goes beyond states rights. This is about human rights, we do have the right to know what we are eating. They label the calories, fat content, sodium and others on fast food labels, why would groceries very different. We should know if we are eating GE foods, we reserve the right to choose between that, non GE foods and Organic foods. Republicans and Democrats need to get their hands out if their pockets and allow the people the right to choose their food. President Obama should not sign any bill that outlaws the labelling of GE or any other foods. This is not about a gun, this is about the health of our people.
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