[Environment] LABELS AND LABELING : FOOD : GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOS) : LAWS: LEGISLATION : POLITICS: Big Food’s Win Over GMO Labeling Bill Shows Failure of Democracy

 

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LABELS AND LABELING :

FOOD :

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOS) :

LAWS: LEGISLATION :

POLITICS:

Big Food’s Win Over GMO Labeling Bill Shows Failure of Democracy

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Big Food’s Win Over GMO Labeling Bill Shows Failure of Democracy

Ken Roseboro

EcoWatch

http://www.ecowatch.com/ big-food-gmo-labeling-bill-failure-of-democracy-1937877546.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/zzj4tqy

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In 2014, Vermont passed the first legislation in the U.S. to require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. A year earlier, Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling bills though these were dependent on several other states passing similar laws.

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Vermont’s bill passed overwhelmingly in both the state’s House of Representatives and Senate and Gov. Pete Shumlin signed the bill shortly thereafter.

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This is how democracy is supposed to work, right? Citizens see an issue of concern that needs to be addressed and they contact their elected representatives who respond by passing a law. This is what happened in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine.

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As Tara Cook-Littman, who spearheaded Connecticut’s labeling initiative, said: “GMO labeling is about people taking back power and getting lawmakers to take action in the interests of the people and not corporations. If we don’t use our voices it’s not democracy. We proved in Connecticut that we do have power and can make democracy work.”

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Worst of Democracy: Lawmakers Pander to Corporations

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Contrast those initiatives with U.S. federal government action on GMO labeling in the past year. Heavy lobbying by large food and agriculture corporations and groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association led the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce the Orwellian-named “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.”

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The bill, dubbed the “DARK Act” (Deny Americans the Right to Know), aimed to stop Vermont and other state GMO labeling laws and establish a meaningless system of voluntary GMO labeling. The DARK Act passed the House but a similar bill failed to pass the U.S. Senate this past March mainly because the people told their senators to vote against it.

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Following the Senate defeat and with Vermont’s GMO labeling law set to take effect July 1, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) drafted a compromise of the DARK Act, making GMO disclosure mandatory and not voluntary as in the House bill. But there was no requirement for an on-package statement as the Vermont law mandated.

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Stabenow’s compromise essentially snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for labeling supporters because many major food companies were already putting GMO labels on their products sold nationwide to comply with Vermont’s law.

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The Roberts-Stabenow bill has been described as a “non-labeling GMO labeling bill” since, among its many flaws, it allows food companies to continue their stonewalling of GMO information by putting QR codes on products that can only be read by smartphones. Imagine a busy mother at a supermarket with several children in tow pulling out her smartphone to read QR codes on 20 or 30 food products. Or imagine the many mothers that don’t even have smartphones trying to get GMO information. According to marketing communications expert Peter Quinn, the use of QR codes has virtually been abandoned because they have proven to be so ineffective and a “technology wild goose chase.”

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
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jwne@temple.edu
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Author: jwneastro

I am a reference librarian at Temple University and a specialist in bibliographic database searching.

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