The closer we look at the Roberts-Stabenow bill on GMO labeling, the worse it gets. It’s so bad that even the FDA – which asserts that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to conventional foods — has criticized it! The bill’s biggest flaws:
- No on-package label required – the companies can put a QR code, phone number, or website, which provides no real information for someone shopping for food.
- No federal enforcement penalties. If the companies fail to comply with even this minimal requirement, there’s no mechanism for the federal government to enforce the law.
- Massive loopholes in definition of genetically engineered and what will have to be labeled.
- And it pre-empts all state laws that would require on-package labeling.
This is not a “compromise” on labeling – it is effectively a ban on GMO labeling, in disguise.
Vermont’s law went into effect last Friday, July 1. Most food manufacturers came into compliance well in advance. And check it out – there’s still food on the grocery store shelves, the prices haven’t risen, and no companies have gone out of business. While Monsanto and its allies claimed the sky would fall, it simply hasn’t.
There is no excuse for the federal government to step in and override the will of the people and states’ authority to require labeling.
The Senate is expected to vote this week, and the outlook is NOT good. Some corporate agribusinesses who control the Organic Trade Association endorsed the bill, giving many Senators the excuse to say that “the organic industry is fine with this.”
It is vital that your Senators hear from you, their constituents. Tell them in clear terms that you don’t care what companies have endorsed the bill – the voters don’t like it!
Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Calls are the fastest, and most effective way to get your message through to Congress. (This number will give you a quick briefing on the issue, and then connect you to your Senators.)
If you prefer email, you can find contact information for your Senators at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Here’s a sample script for a call:
I live in [STATE], and I urge you to reject the Roberts-Stabenow so-called compromise on GMO labeling. This bill isn’t a compromise where both sides got something – it simply gives Monsanto and Big Ag everything they wanted, at the expense of citizens like me.
QR codes, 1-800 numbers, or a website address is not labeling. None of these provide information in a reasonable manner for consumers. There won’t even be any penalties for failing to comply, and the definition of genetic engineering is so narrow that it is already obsolete. This isn’t mandatory labeling, it’s a mirage.
Labeling GMO foods clearly, on the package, is already happening – in 60 other countries as well as Vermont. Congress should side with the people, not the corporations.
I urge you to vote NO on the Roberts-Stabenow bill.
A phone call is more effective than an email. If you do send an email, please include a couple of sentences at the beginning with your own personalized message — personal messages have more impact than form emails.