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Genetically Modified Organism Labeling - Should States or the Federal Government decide?

Are you concerned if your food has genetically modified organisms in it? On July 23 2015 the House of Representatives voted to make finding that information harder by banning states from passing their own laws requiring GMO (genetically modified organism) labels. The bill passed 275 to 150.

The bill sets up a voluntary program for companies who wish to disclose genetically modified ingredients. Companies that want to label their food is GMO free would have to submit to a certification process overseen by the Department of Agriculture. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act would also ban states such as Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut who have already passed GMO-labeling laws from putting those laws into practice. The bill also allows the Food and Drug administration to provide use of the label “natural” for genetically engineered foods.

Do you believe GMO foods should be labeled? Should the federal government be able to ban states from requiring foods to be labeled as GMO?

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    • [-][+]My resolution
    • 9 years ago
    Steve W. (Neutral)
    Say No to Green-Washing and businesses that aren't concerned with our health – "You can’t complain that corporations show up on Capitol Hill and have an impact, and then not communicate with your representatives" great line, Anne. Maybe even more important, how many who complain about GMO's actually refuse to eat them 100% of the time? The best way to effect change on this issue is to vote with your mouths. Support places that require labelling or refuse to sell GMO's. Boycott to the extent possible those who do promote GMO's and especially those who "greenwash" by using terms like "natural" on GMO packaging. stores that claim to offer healthy choices should require labelling 100% of the time or not carry GMO's at all.
      • [-][+]My resolution
      • 9 years ago
      Francis B. (Neutral)
      I have pretty mixed feelings on this issue. I think GMO is bad for you because truly healthy food goes beyond its "technical components". It has energy, consciousness and life- maybe those are all the same, but they are more than vitamins, carbs and minerals. in short food has a life and a history and if its raised in a tube its not really something the our environment created in response to the needs of humans. That said, I understand there is at least somewhat of a scientific consensus that GMO food is safe. That means it doesn't kill or harm people and there doesn't seem to be any test for "wholesomeness" or life force per serving. Etc. As a result, I personally think it should be up to the free market to label or not-label. WholeFoods, Trader Joe's and a bunch of other producers and retailers are already putting plans in place to require labelling or restrict GMO products. Do we really want 50 states to have the right to decide what labels are required on every grain of food that's sold in their domain? Im a science skeptic on pretty much everything. Global Warming, GMO's, etc. I don't believe anything is settled just because there's a consensus. So, short of science that proves its actually harmful, I think it should be up to personal choice and pro-active private enterprises to label or not label. In the end, the consumer will dictate terms to the market, regardless of state or federal mandates.
        • [-][+]My resolution
        • 9 years ago
        Anne D. (Advocate for Plaintiff)
        Demand Mandatory Labeling of GMO Food: Support The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act – Genetic engineering of our food supply is a national (cosmic, if you will) problem. It requires a federal solution. The Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act (FD&C) prohibits the misbranding of food articles, which includes if a label is “misleading.” However, no food manufacturer has voluntarily labeled products with gmo ingredients since they hit the market in 1992.

        The “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act [HR # 1599] is a foolhardy measure which would actually prevent consumers from knowing that their food has been genetically engineered.

        Mandatory GMO food labeling in the U.S. will incentivize food companies to manufacture products with non-gmo ingredients.

        Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food. House Bill #913/Senate Bill #511 is a common-sense measure which pre-empts the need for a state-by-state labeling system. Please see the bill summary, below.

        U.S. consumer concerns about genetically engineered foods are steadily increasing. From 2012-2014, the number of new new non-gmo product introductions in the U.S. increased by 262%. Mandatory GMO food labeling provides mothers and others with the information they need to make informed choices about the food they buy and feed their families. GMO labeling is already required in 64 other countries. Furthermore, U.S. food manufacturers (Kelloggs, Kraft, General Mills, Jelly Belly, etc.) already formulate their products with non-gmo ingredients for these markets.

        You can’t complain that corporations show up on Capitol Hill and have an impact, and then not communicate with your representatives. The freedom you take for granted in this country comes with the responsibility to communicate with your elected representatives. This requires speaking with both your U.S. Senators, your representative in the U.S. House, and members of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Health, Education, Labor and Penisons (H.E.L.P.), which oversees the F.D.A. Make a few calls today and your voice will be heard where it needs to be heard NOW: in Congress!

        Every member of the Senate and House of Representatives (with phone numbers) is listed in the directory here:

        Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are listed here:

        Members of the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee are listed here:

        Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act

        This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale of food that has been genetically engineered or contains genetically engineered ingredients, unless that information is clearly disclosed.

        This prohibition does not apply to: (1) food served in restaurants, (2) medical food, (3) packaged food that is less than 0.9% genetically engineered material, and (4) food that qualifies as genetically engineered solely because it is produced using a genetically engineered vaccine or because it includes the use of a genetically engineered processing aid (including yeast) or enzyme.

        Labeling or advertising foods containing genetically engineered material as “natural,” or using similar words, is prohibited.

        A food recipient is not subject to penalties for misbranding of genetically engineered food or ingredients if the recipient has a guaranty that is signed by the person from whom they received the food (including seeds) and the guaranty states that the food is not genetically engineered or does not contain a genetically engineered ingredient.

        Food is deemed to have been produced without the knowing or intentional use of genetic engineering if: (1) the food is certified as organic; or (2) an independent organization determines the food has not been knowingly or intentionally genetically engineered or commingled with genetically engineered food, with that determination being based on testing that is consistent with international standards and not reliant on processed foods with no detectable DNA.

        An agricultural producer is not subject to penalties for misbranding of genetically engineered food or ingredients if a violation occurs because food unintentionally becomes contaminated with genetically engineered material and the contamination is not due to the producer’s negligence.
          • [-][+]My resolution
          • 29 Points
          • 9 years ago
          Zunaira N. (Neutral)
          The GMO controversy has for a long time stirred raging debate surrounding the issue. The suggestion I propose for this issue is the implementation of the Right to Know Act. According to me the argument of the plaintiff’s side is grounded in the simple fact that consumers want to know what is in their food and thus the ability to voice their will through their purchasing power, something that is natural for a capitalist economy. On the contrary, GMO producers fear that consumers will, without adequate knowledge or proof, stigmatize their products if producers are required to disclose the GMO content in their food. The Right-To-Know Act will provide the consumers with an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the economy and know what they are purchasing, which is their right, at the same time ensuring that the producer’s interests are satisfied.
          The implementation of the Right to Know Act will certainly be the best way to respond to the consumer demand for disclosure of GMO content in food stuff. This will not only create awareness among the consumers about GMO foods but also will a have very insignificant effect on the producers as The Right to Know Act’s disclosure requirement only involves registering basic information about the presence of GMOs in a particular food product. The Act does not make demands with respect to more complex processes of packaging, labeling or marketing of food products. Thus the Right to Know Act will effectively balance GMO consumer and producer interests as it prevents GMO food from being stigmatized as well as accommodates the consumer’s right to know what they are purchasing by making an informed and educated decision.
          Moreover, The Right to Know Act is particularly advantageous because it will avoid legal complexities which have blocked labeling schemes till now, making this debate never ending. This is because the first amendment does not protect producers against disclosures under the Right to Know Act. Further, The Commerce Clause allows disclosures under the Right to Know Act. Lastly, Federal Law does not preempt the Right to Know Act as it operates on state and not Federal Level. Therefore, I believe that both parties can settle on the Right to Know Act as it will best address the interests of both sides
            • [-][+]My resolution
            • 9 years ago
            Suzan C. (Neutral)
            1. Ban GMO's 2. Label food that contains Genetically Modified Organisms. 3. Natural does not mean Organic; label it Organic or contains GMO, "omit the word Natural" – President Obama said it best: Everyone has the right to know what is in their food.
            GMOs need to be properly identified for the consumer to have a reasonable choice. Labeled just like organic, pasture raised, cage free, or any other type of production method because every person has the right to decide which foods they choose to consume and GMOs should have at least a 10 year moratorium and banned until further research is conducted by independent parties to verify the efficacy, safety and environmental concerns especially with crops grown outside of the lab. Force feeding the public- unaware of altered ingredients is NOT a reasonable experiment. The pesticides used on these plants also need to be tested to determine if use of pesticides is reduced by using GMO's crops, health concerns especially associated with the rise in autism, autoimmune diseases, fertility, digestive issues. In addition, the use of Glyphosate has had a wide-spread negative effect on the Monarch Butterfly- let that insect serve as the Coal-Miners Canary.
              • [-][+]My resolution
              • 117 Points
              • 9 years ago
              Hanbal K. (Neutral)
              What the state is doing is reducing its role in the free economy, something that theoretically it should always do. There are some consumers who wish to have GMO food and others who do not. If there is a large number of consumers who do not wish to eat Genetically Enhanced (GE) food products, then they will find out which companies produce the food they wish to consume and become their customers.
              If this is indeed as big as some claim it to be, then the demand for the non-GE food products will increase, which will automatically result in the companies labeling their products in order to attract more customers. Instead of guessing what the public wants, this is a sure shot way of the economy finding out what the public wants.

              The resolution I propose is that the Government should aid the public in gaining the information that they will need to make rational choices. This way, the burden falls on the local governments to take initiatives. If they care care so about this matter, they will bear the cost for their awareness program instead of burdening the companies to bear extra costs of printing labels.
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