San­ders Vows to De­fend Ver­mont’s GMO La­bel­ing Law

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

“As a Ver­mon­ter, I am very proud that our state be­came the first state in the coun­try to man­date la­bel­ing for food that con­tains GMO prod­ucts. I am proud of the grass­roots ac­tivism that led to that leg­is­la­tion and proud of the sup­port that the Leg­is­la­ture and Gov. Shum­lin gave to that leg­is­la­tion. Your ef­forts show what hap­pens when democ­racy works,” San­ders said.

The Ver­mont mea­sure, which went into ef­fect to­day, is be­ing threat­ened by leg­is­la­tion in the U.S. Se­nate, in­tro­duced by U.S. Sens. Deb­bie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), that would cre­ate a con­fus­ing, mis­lead­ing and un­en­force­able na­tional stan­dard for la­bel­ing ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied food.

In­stead of a uni­form la­bel­ing stan­dard like Ver­mont’s law, Stabenow and Roberts’ bill cre­ates a con­fus­ing stan­dard that al­lows text, sym­bols or an elec­tronic QR code to be used. The bill also con­tains huge loopholes in the la­bel­ing re­quire­ment. And it im­poses no penal­ties what­so­ever for vi­o­lat­ing the la­bel­ing re­quire­ment.

The ma­jor agribusi­ness and biotech com­pa­nies “do not be­lieve peo­ple have a right to know what's in the food they eat,” San­ders said. “That is why they have spent hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in lob­by­ing and cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions to over­turn the GMO right-to-know leg­is­la­tion that states have al­ready passed and that many other states are in the verge of pass­ing.”

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group has cal­cu­lated that food and biotech com­pa­nies and trade as­so­ci­a­tions have spent nearly $200 mil­lion to op­pose

state GMO la­bel­ing bal­lot ini­tia­tives. Since 2015, the food lobby has spent $101 mil­lion to avert ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied food la­bel­ing laws and other mea­sures. Agri­cul­tural com­pa­nies have made $226 mil­lion in cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions, in the last three elec­tion cy­cles, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spon­sive Pol­i­tics.

“If we don’t stop them” from pass­ing Stabenow and Roberts’ leg­is­la­tion in the U.S. Se­nate, “they may just suc­ceed,” San­ders said. “Need­less to say I, and the Ver­mont del­e­ga­tion and many mem­bers of Congress will do every­thing in our power to de­feat this ter­ri­ble bill.”

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