Last week, a bill was introduced into Congress that would preempt any efforts by state legislatures to require manufacturers to label the presence of genetically-engineered ingredients in their products. Yesterday, however, the Vermont Senate approved a bill that would require labeling of all foods made with genetically modified crops. The bill is now going back to the House for their re-approval, needing to approve the Senate s version (since the bills passed both chambers nearly unanimously, that seems like a foregone conclusion).
According to the bill, foods made with genetically engineered crops potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment. This law also differs from those passed earlier in Connecticut and Maine, which require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before the laws in these states would go into effect.
Karen Batra, spokeswoman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, This debate isn t about food safety. Our science experts ¦point to more than 1,700 credible peer-reviewed studies that find no legitimate concern. She also emphasizes the point that the labeling creates needless extra costs and complications for farmers and the food industry.
ACSH s Ariel Savransky adds, GM foods pose no danger to consumers or the environment. The desire to label foods containing GMOs is based on unwarranted fears and is a waste of time and resources. If consumers want to buy food that does not contain GMOs, they can buy organic which are not permitted to contain genetically engineered ingredients. While we here at ACSH were not strong supporters of the recently-discussed proposal to enact a Federal law barring states from passing such a patchwork of mandates, we do wonder how the food industry and the American public will deal with this situation if it spreads, as seems likely: at least 20 other states have similar measures under consideration.