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19 Mar 2016 - U. S. Senate Votes Against Technology

I don’t know if many of the Senators, beyond the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, knew the consequence of their vote last week and the impact it will have on food producers and food consumers. I know if they got their information from unknown activist bloggers rather than scientific research they had little or no knowledge of the issue.

The bill was known as the Biotech Labeling Solutions Act. Those who opposed the bill had their own title for the bill….DARK - Deny Americans the Right to Know. It moved to the Senate floor, the result of a bipartisan effort that came out of the Committee; it would apply to all states and it was voluntary. The vote on the Senate floor was 49 to 48 in favor, but 60 yes votes were needed to pass.

Reaction from the agricultural community was quick and angry. Chip Bowling, President of the National Corn Growers Association said…
“U.S. corn farmers are disappointed that, despite the clear demonstration of support from nearly 800 groups, the Senate failed to move this reasonable legislation forward. This legislation would have provided consumers with a greater amount of information in a consistent clear manner. The impending implementation of a patchwork of state labeling legislation will soon harm both the American families who grow food and those who buy it.”

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall was a little more blunt…
“It is inexcusable that the Senate vote on a voluntary federal GMO labeling bill that preempts a damaging patchwork of state measures fell short. To say we are angry with those Senators who abandoned farmers and ranchers and turned their backs on rural America is an understatement. Their votes opposing this measure ignored science, threw our nation’s food system into disarray and undermined the public’s understanding of the many benefits of biotechnology in feeding a growing and hungry population.”

Let me ay what I have said many times before. Without biotechnology we sentence millions of people on the planet to death from starvation; we cut millions of acres of forest to get more cropland needed to feed the two-billion additional people on the planet by 2050; show me a death certificate that says “death from eating foods containing GMO’s”; depend on science rather than an unknown emotional activist blogger; and finally, follow the advice shared with me by an Iowa farmer several years ago, if you want GMO-free food, shop at the nearest organic food store.

Finally, it is a voluntary labeling bill; let economics decide because if shoppers stop buying un-labeled foods, it won’t take long for companies to react to the demand for labeling. And to me the biggest crime of all…companies and organizations on both sides of the issue have spent $100-million to get a favorable vote. How many hungry and homeless people could we have fed with that money??!!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.