Republicans and Democrats on a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee questioned whether requiring a label on any packaged food including GMOs – or foods grown form seeds engineered in labs – would be misleading to consumers since there is little scientific evidence that such foods are unsafe.
The food industry has made a similar argument and all opinions are based upon Monsanto doing their own testing and assuring safety.
Of course reports like the Eric-Giles Seralini study from France proving the growing of cancer tumors in rats after being exposed to glyphosate for three years, or the Tizhe_et_al., 2014 report showing how oral exposure to glyphosate leads to renal and hepatic toxicity, or the Schultze_et_al., 2014 report from Switzerland showing that despite banning the import and cultivation of GM crops years ago, there are still detectable levels of GM canola growing in the country, or the report furnished by Dr. Stephanie Seneff, PhD at MIT University showing how glyphosate exposure relates to autism in children and how by 2025, half of all children will be autistic, is vehemently ignored.
Congress has shown increasing interest in getting involved in the labeling debate as the food industry has faced a potential patchwork of state laws that require it.
The hearing previewed GOP efforts to push legislation next year that would reaffirm that such food labeling are voluntary, overriding any state laws that require them.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., has the backing of the food industry.
Even Democrats on the panel appeared concerned about the unintended effects of requiring GMO labeling on food packages, though they stopped short of endorsing the Pompeo bill.
Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said he is concerned that labeling could be “inherently misleading”.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, a heavily agricultural district that has lakes of pig doo doo, said he is worried that the costs of labeling would be passed on to consumers. Imagine the horror if food prices rose by $.01?
Oh yeah, Butterfield has co-sponsored the voluntary labeling bill with Pompeo.
Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who will replace the retiring Waxman as the committee’s top Democrat, said he was weighing both sides of the issue.
“If the labeling could result in higher food costs, then maybe that’s not a risk we want to take, he said.
Consumer advocates pushing for the labeling say that shoppers have a right to know what is in their food, arguing that not enough is known about the effects of the technology and have pushed several state efforts to require labeling, with the eventual goal of having a federal standard.
Vermont became the first state to require labeling this year, passing a law in May that will take effect in mid-2016 if it survives Monsanto’s legal challenges.
Maine and Connecticut passed laws before Vermont, but those measures do not take effect unless neighboring states follow suit.
And of course the Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii county labeling bills that passed by the people, are now facing legal
Currently, the Fraud and Drug Administration does not require labeling for GMOs. Michael Landa, head of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (now that’s an interesting name for an agency within an agency), testified that the agency believes that engineered foods on the market are safe.
The agency has a safety review process for GMO crops but it isn’t required (Michael Taylor strikes again!).
Landa said the agency does not require labeling because it has so far found no basis to conclude that GMOs “differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way or pose any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional breeding” (spoken by a true “hooker”!).
Genetically modified seeds are engineered to have certain traits, like resistance to the inundation of herbicides or the proliferation of plant diseases and the majority of the country’s corn and soybean crop, now approved to be sprayed with the active ingredient of Agent Orange, is going to animal feed.
Modified corn and soybeans are also made into the ever-popular processed food ingredients like corn oil, cornstarch, high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil.
Labeling advocates say the issue is about transparency, not safety.
Scott Faber, head of the national Just Label It campaign, testified that consumers want to know what they are buying and how the food was produced. He said that advocates are not seeking a warning label, but a “factual, non-judgmental disclosure” on the back of all food packages that contain GMO ingredients.
The food industry has faced pressure from all retailers as consumer awareness of GMOs has increased and the conversation about modified ingredients has grown louder.
Whole Foods, in an attempt to give their consumers the impression that they care, announced last year that it planned to label GMO products in all of its U.S. and Canadian stores by 2018. Yet, over a year later they still sell all the same products. One would think that they would have started inquiring from all their suppliers and not reordered products not labeled nonGMO or Certified Organic.
And last but not least, Thomas W. Dempsey Jr., president and CEO of the Snack Food Association said, “Mandatory labels would disrupt the supply chain”.
One final note: on January 17th at 8am Hawaii time, Dr. Stephanie Seneff will be a guest on my radio show discussing her finding the connection between glyphosate and autism. To listen live go to www.kwai1080am.com to hear the streamed show. Should you have any questions you can call in at (808) 524-1080.