Now that genetically-modified foods will soon require labeling in Maine, New Hampshire is considering following suit. The House subcommittee has begun work on a GMO-Labeling bill that would require foods that have been genetically-modified (GM) to be labeled as such.
In a newspaper article, Maine Representative Lance Harvell made the following statement to the New Hampshire subcommittee: “If you want to make the American people potentially a lab experiment, at least let them know what‘s going on.”
New Hampshire’s proposed legislation would take effect July 1, 2014. If the bill goes through it will require the labeling of foods that are fully or partially genetically-engineered, in which the genetic composition of an organism is altered to give it particular characteristics such as the ability to ward off disease or pests. While the bill does not state it, there would likely be an exemption for meat, dairy, and eggs due to the difficulty tracing genetically-modified feed.
Maine’s legislation includes a trigger. A “trigger” prevents the law from actually taking effect until a number of New England states adopt similar legislation. The “number” of states required is unclear, particularly since both Maine and Connecticut have already passed similar legislation and Vermont’s legislation is pending. The “trigger” may be a way to deter lawsuits by companies whose products would be immediately pulled from grocery store shelves. And since Monsanto–the company that would likely be most affected by the legislation–has a history of being litigious it is possible that they plan to fight back.
According to the Concord Monitor, subcommittee members voiced concerns about the potential effects on both consumers and farmers and the potential for lawsuits from biotech corporations and large-scale food producers using genetically-modified foods. In the article, Harvell said, “If Monsanto hasn’t sued you yet, stand in line.” Monsanto has a reputation for slapping a lawsuit on just about anything devoid of genetically modified ingredients — leaving many farmers, regulators, and others fearful of a lawsuit.
Since when did state governments have to cower at the feet of corporations? I fully understand their concerns though and say “kudos” to the New England States that are promulgating gm-labeling laws. But, it is sickening to know that corporations wield lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits as a means to further their corporate agendas and advance their bottom lines. Americans’ right to know what they are eating is certainly more important than the possibility of lawsuits. And, if these corporations do threaten lawsuits against state governments that are looking out for the constitutional rights of Americans, how pathetic is that? If these corporations are sure of the value of genetic modification as the “way of the future” then they should proudly stand behind them, slapping labels all over their trans-gene-sporting foods.
All the people on the anti-GMO labeling side of the argument could buy all the Frankenfoods they want while the rest of us can stay clear of it. From where I stand, if you‘re fine with eating genetically-modified foods then encourage labeling, fill your shopping cart, and enjoy your Frankenfood feast. But, those of us who want labelling have a right to know what‘s happening to our food supply. I agree with Harvell on this topic that Americans (and everyone else in the world) deserves to know when they are potentially part of a gigantic lab experiment.
Check out my article, “Investor Warns Monsanto Stock Leaves Bad Aftertaste.”
Please sign the petition to require the labeling of genetically-modified foods throughout the United States.
Please sign the petition to require the labeling of genetically-modified foods in Canada. Even if you‘re not Canadian, please show your support.
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