Obama Signs GMO Labeling Bill: What That Means For You
President Obama recently signed a bill requiring the labeling of genetic modified ingredients in foods. While this bill was approved by Congress several weeks ago, its passage means that the majority of food packaging must use text labeling, a symbol and electronic code readable by smartphone to specify whether or not the food contains GMO.
Under the new law, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has until 2018 to write rules governing labeling.
The food industry and their lobbyists fought for this bill because of, among other things, its electronic labels and light penalties for non-compliant companies.
Conversely, several senators including Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch objected to the law citing that it is not tough enough and gives corporations three options for labeling.
Ed Stockman wrote in an op-ed piece that explaining how this bill embodies “exactly what the U.S. Congress and Monsanto intended… a non-labeling bill”.
Stockman pointed out: “It makes it very difficult for consumers to get GMO information about a product and to make informed decisions about the food they are purchasing and feeding to their families. Hiding product information behind a QR code clearly discriminates against low-income families, minorities, mothers, seniors, rural citizens, the disabled and those without smartphones. All Americans should have the opportunity to know what they are buying, not just the privileged.”
For over a year now, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) who represents Monsanto, Du Pont, Dow Chemical Co and other biotech corporations that manufacture GMO seeds claims that Vermont’s law would raise the cost of an average household’s food costs by $400 annually due to mandatory labeling.
BIO has invested more than $6 million to bribe Capitol Hill into supporting their efforts.
Food food manufacturers stated that they will give in to labeling GMO if they can voluntarily participate in the rule.
These corporations are currently lobbying Congress to “pass legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration to create guidelines for the new labels, which food manufacturers could use.”
These processed foods giants are proposing a “voluntary labeling of genetically modified foods” in an attempt to preempt the possibility that more states will consider legislation to make this practice law.
The groups involved in this offering include:
• National Corn Growers Association
• National Restaurant Association
• National Beverage Association
In 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drafted an industry guide on voluntary labeling of GMO ingredients in consumer products.
The GMA are moving to support a voluntary labeling policy which would preempt “any state labeling laws that are not identical to the federal program.”