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27 March 2015 - Finally, Common Sense on GMO Labeling

After years of debate, ballots and spending billions of dollars on the GMO labeling issue, perhaps we are going to see some common sense.

You know that for years I have editorialized against GMO labeling, feeling it is not necessary because I don’t believe there is a safety issue. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said as much. If there was a safety issue, that would be the only reason to label GMO foods. More than 150 scientific studies around the world have failed to discover any safety concern. As one editorialist stated “Show me the bodies”. I’ve also been bothered by the state propositions that would require state rules for GMO labeling. That just wouldn’t work.

So, a few days ago I was encouraged by the fact that Congressman Mike Pompeo-Republican from Kansas and Congressman G. K Butterfield-Democrat from North Carolina introduced The Safe & Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. It would establish a voluntary labeling standard on a Federal basis, not state-by-state.

It would direct the Food & Drug Administration to develop consistent safety requirements for new plant varieties used for GMO food before it is moved into the market place. The FDA would also establish rules for the use of the word ‘natural’ when used on food labels.

Congressman Pompeo said “Our goal for this legislation is to provide clarity and transparency in food labeling, to support innovation, and to keep food affordable.” Congressman Butterfield stated “The potential for a 50 state patchwork of varying labeling standards would increase costs for producers and translate into higher prices for consumers to the tune of more than $500 per year for the average family.”

Labeling proponents certainly disagree with that thinking, but the food and agricultural industries agree. The Grocery Manufacturers Association said
“A single federal labeling standard for GMO and non-GMO’s that is based on science would ensure that America’s farmers and food manufacturers work under a uniform standard across all 50 states and that consumers receive uniform, consistent information on GMO’s.”

American Farm Bureau Federation said “Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, but they shouldn’t be misinformed about what’s safe or forced to pay higher prices unnecessarily.”

Well, I certainly agree, and I would urge your support of The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. Let’s finally put an end to this costly issue..

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.