19 July 2015 - Support H.R.1599

I have discussed the GMO labeling issue many times on Samuelson Sez, and every time, my position supporting GMO’s has generated some of the nastiest e-mails I have ever received. So this week I am ready to try again as I urge your support of a bill that was passed out of the House Agriculture Committee a few days ago, because I believe it can answer the concerns on both sides, and deserves our support.

The Bill, H.R.1599, entitled The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, is a bi-partisan effort dealing with the food labeling issue concerning GMO’s. Rather than state my reasons for supporting it, let me quote those in the House who worked on it.

Starting with the Ag Committee Chairman, Michael Conaway who said - “The current patchwork system of varied labels interferes with the free flow of goods across the country, posing a real threat to interstate commerce, and typically results in inconsistent and confusing information for consumers. Creating a uniform national policy regarding biotechnology labeling is the free market solution that will allow consumers access to meaningful information.”

Next, the Ranking Democrat and former Chairman of the House Ag. Committee, Colin Peterson of Minnesota, who said - “Consumers increasingly want to know more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. I think H.R.1599 satisfies that demand while also recognizing what we know about the safety of the foods that our farmers produce. The bill is a workable solution that will alleviate the potential mess of 50 states with 50 different labeling schemes.”

Finally, Representative Rodney Davis who said - “Without a national standard, we risk the spread of misinformation and increased food costs. Just as consumers can go to the grocery store and identify organic products, this bill will enable them to do the same with GMO-free products.”

I strongly support this legislation because I don’t think producers, retailers, even consumers will benefit from 50 different GMO labeling laws in 50 states; that would be insane. But most of all, I support it because it would do away with the billions of dollars spent in advertising “for” and “against” in every state conducting a referendum.

And maybe, just maybe…those dollars could be donated to local food pantries and other programs that spend their time and money trying to feed the hungry in this land of plenty. H.R.1599 deserves our support.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.