Senate Votes: Keep Consumers in the Dark About GMO Food
By Mat McDermott, TreeHugger
I have to say that I didn’t expect the vote to go otherwise, but I’m surprised it was so lopsided: The Farm Bill amendment that would unambiguously give states the rights to label genetically modified ingredients in food without fear of reprisal from biotech companies has been voted down in the Senate.
The amendment, introduced by Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), was voted down by 73-26.
Bernie Sanders responded on his Senate website:
“This is the very first time a bill on labeling genetically engineered food has been brought before the Senate. It was opposed by virtually every major food corporation in the country. While we wish we could have gotten more votes, this is a good step forward and something we are goring to continue to work on. The people of Vermont and the people of America have a right to know what’s in the food that they eat.”
California now has a ballot initiative on labeling of GMO ingredients. Recently a bill requiring labeling was put forward in Vermont, but was withdrawn when Monsanto threatened to sue the state. Fearing Monsanto legal reprisal, another GMO labeling bill in Connecticut was also withdrawn, earlier this spring.
Among the world’s wealthy nations (as well as some of the world’s largest nations including Russia, Brazil, China, and India), the United States and Canada are the only two that do not mandate labeling of genetically modified ingredients.
Had it passed, the Sanders amendment would have also required the FDA and the Department of Agriculture to compile a report to Congress detailing the percentage of food in the nation containing GMO ingredients.