Today, the U.S. Senate voted to limit further discussion of GMO labeling in America, lending support to a bill heavily favored by Monsanto.
65 Senators voted to suspend further discussion, limiting freedom of speech on this important topic, and 32 Senators believed that with 64 countries already labeling GMOs on pack and the food industry already executing on-pack labeling due to state initiatives that further discussion is needed.
These 32 aren’t the only ones. (You can view the Roll Call here).
There are so many ambiguities in the bill that the FDA has criticized it. The ambiguities in the bill are around the language that could exempt most GMO products on the market, the facts that still need to be addressed according to the FDA are the narrow scope of biotechnologies covered, the handing over of jurisdiction to the USDA with a two year window and vacuum, and the lack of enforceability, and penalties for noncompliance.
In other words, there are enormous loopholes in the definitions of GMOs under this bill, who governs the regulation and a lack of penalties. It’s like telling your kids they have curfew but then not checking to see if they were drinking and driving, if they got home on time, and then waiving any punishment should they break the rules.
As Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, said following the cloture vote (the vote on limiting further discussion):
“We’re disappointed that the Senate has pushed this bill forward when important questions remain about potential loopholes that would sharply limit its effectiveness.
The FDA raised issues about language that could exempt most GMO products on the market. Moreover, this bill—which blocks state GMO labeling laws immediately—doesn’t require the USDA to establish the new national standard for two years, leaving a legal vacuum that would undermine GMO labeling already occurring in the marketplace.
We urge Senators to listen to the nine out of ten consumers who support mandatory, on-package GMO labeling and oppose this bill.”
Consumers Union is urging consumers to call their Senators at 1-855-977-1770 to oppose the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill, and to support meaningful, mandatory on-package labeling for GMO foods. To learn more, visit ConsumersUnion.org/RightToKnow.