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United States Biotech Government

US House Committee Approves Anti-GMO Labeling Law 446

An anonymous reader writes: The House Agriculture Committee approved a measure banning mandatory GMO labeling as well as local efforts to regulate genetically engineered crops. The decision is a major victory for U.S. food companies and other opponents of labeling genetically modified foods. "This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food rather than a 50 state patchwork of labeling laws that will only prove costly and confusing for consumers, farmers and food manufacturers," said Pamela Bailey, CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), said in a statement.
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US House Committee Approves Anti-GMO Labeling Law

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  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:32PM (#50120367) Journal
    ..your friends at Monsanto Corporation.

    Our Business Is Life Itself.
    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:39PM (#50120417)

      With no evidence that GMO food is bad for your health why should mandatory labeling be required. If people are actually keen to have non-GMO foods and a market exists for those people why not simply label all other food as GMO free to appease that market?

      You see the same thing happening with every other food property starting quite early with the labeling of foods that contain no artificial colours or flavours, and 99% fat free, not to mention "organic", gluten free, phosphate free etc.

      If people care about it then the labels will come on their own accord, until then there should be no reason a food should be labeled unless there's a risk associated with the product that the manufacturer is willfully omitting.

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        "With no evidence that GMO food is bad for your health why should mandatory labeling be required."

        This is explicitly the federal government overriding local laws (county/city/state) that may WANT this labeling. Why does "there's no evidence that it hurts" equal "therefore, the federal government should jam it down everyone's fucking throats?"

        I bet the rest of your politics don't look like this.

        "If people are actually keen to have non-GMO foods and a market exists for those people why not simply label all o

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by NormAtHome ( 99305 )

        Sorry, there is plenty of evidence:

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/st... [cbsnews.com]

        even though the study was initially retracted, it's since been republished and the initial retraction was widely condemned by scientists and researchers worldwide.

        A case could be made that Monsanto pressured people for the retraction.

        Personally I think that their GMO corn is really bad for people and animals and that eventually it'll be proved without a doubt but in the mean time Monsanto continues to rake in millions if not billions on pro

        • You have a terrible definition of the word 'plenty'.

        • Wow, are you being sarcastic? I took you seriously right up until you mentioned aspartame. I challenge you to find ANY scientific study that shows aspartame is harmful in any way.

          The FDA called aspartame "one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved". More than 100 toxicological and clinical studies it has reviewed confirm that aspartame is safe for the general population. Source: http://web.archive.org/web/200... [archive.org]

          That was 16 YEARS ago. This horse has been dead a

      • Backwards (Score:4, Funny)

        by Radtastic ( 671622 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @07:49PM (#50121011)

        You have this backwards. If companies are going to introduce new products into our food supply, the burden of proof should be on them to prove that there aren't any negative health consequences.

        Is it harder to show proof of absence? You bet your ass. And given the ramifications involved, it should be.

        Look, I'm not an anti-gmo crusader. I think it has a lot of promise to more efficiently feed a growing world. But, like any technology, it can be used both responsibly and irresponsibly, and the private sector doesn't have a great track record of putting public health ahead of profits.

      • If they put DNA from peanuts in a tomatoe, then people who are alergic to peanuts could die. If you label stuff then people would know about that risk. If you don't label then people just die of unknown causes. The opposite to mandatory labeling isn't voluntary labeling, it's no labeling (because if you label, you might lose 5% of your customers).
      • Food producers can individually appeal to the anti-GMO market by labeling as GMO-free, just as they label for kosher. The new law just prevents all food from having to be labeled. How would you like it if most of the food you bought were to be labeled, NOT HALAL?

    • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 )
      Brought to you, or Bought to you?
    • and they'll bring back the noose for it.

    • Funny how anti-States-Rights some congress-folk get when the States are impacting campaign donors.
    • I swear the more I hear about how bad Monsanto is because they dabble in GM (which they use to create products that apparently farmers want badly, which suggests that the modifications actually help with efficiency and thus total world food output), the more I want to buy shares in them.

      Opponents argue Monsanto is "Playing God". If they're making it cheaper to make plentiful food, then I say they're doing God's work.

      (And yeah, I know, Agent Orange and whatnot, but if a bad company becomes good, what's

  • Other opponents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:36PM (#50120387)

    other opponents of labeling genetically modified foods

    Now who the hell considers themselves an opponent of labeling GMO foods unless they have a financial stake in it? Is there anyone walking down the street who has nothing to do with the food industry and considers themselves an opponent of labeling GMO foods?

    This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food

    So a law that requires that GMO foods are labeled as GMO foods would be a barrier to accurate, consistent information? Someone wrote that quote without even bothering to check what the issue was, didn't they?

    • Re:Other opponents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erice ( 13380 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:55PM (#50120549) Homepage

      other opponents of labeling genetically modified foods

      Now who the hell considers themselves an opponent of labeling GMO foods unless they have a financial stake in it? Is there anyone walking down the street who has nothing to do with the food industry and considers themselves an opponent of labeling GMO foods?

      I have no financial stake it in an I oppose labeling of GMO foods.

      This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food

      So a law that requires that GMO foods are labeled as GMO foods would be a barrier to accurate, consistent information?

      Yes. Because "GMO" doesn't tell you anything all. It makes people *think* they are making an informed choice about their health when actually they are choosing randomly and because people have limited time and attention span, adding the label means other, actually important factors, get less attention.

      • by Gryle ( 933382 )
        I'm not following your train of thought here. Are you saying the labelling standards in place for "GMO" (from state to state) are fuzzy and inconsistent? Or are you saying it's such a nebulous term (like "organic") that it doesn't tell you anything at all?
        • by tomhath ( 637240 )
          The GMO label means nothing, but those pushing it will use it to imply GMO=unsafe. It then becomes a weapon they can use to advance their agenda to have all GMO removed from the food chain. For no good reason.
      • I have no financial stake it in an I oppose labeling of GMO foods.

        OK, so why do you have a problem if the food I buy needs a GMO label if it is GMO food?

      • A law effectively limiting information disclosure is really shady, regardless of which way you feel about GMO.

        Knowing something is GMO DOES tell you it tastes worse and was created by Monsanto, who I'd love to see burn. It's the food world's equivalent of "Made in China" - sure, it'll do, and it isn't always harmful - but I'd rather avoid it.

        And the Federal government prohibiting any requirement by states of a statement of fact on food labels is fucked up. Sucks to your overbearing commerce clause; read the

    • Re:Other opponents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Copid ( 137416 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:56PM (#50120561)
      I'm in favor of good information on food labels, but I also see the complaint from the GMO producers. I think they're worried about something like this:

      GMO company: There's no need to label these things. They're perfectly safe.
      Anti-GMO activist: Why do you hate transparency? If it's perfectly safe, there's no reason not to label them.

      [Time passes. Labels mandated.]

      Anti-GMO activist: If GMOs are so safe, why is labeling them mandatory?
      Consumers: Hey! That's a good point!
    • Re:Other opponents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Your.Master ( 1088569 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @07:01PM (#50120601)

      I consider myself an opponent of mandatory labelling GMO foods as GMO, without having a financial stake in it.

      I would suggest instead that non-GMO products should voluntarily label themselves as non-GMO, and enforce the veracity of that claim under truth in advertising laws. I still believe that's actually better even for the people who are opposed to GMO in general, because now they know what to look for. This is the "kosher-label" model instead of the "danger: explosive!" model.

      I could also see my way to mandatory labelling specific classes of GMO products if a legitimate concern could be cited about them. Otherwise it's just really arbitrary. Like mandating a "contains Utah genes" label for products whose ancestry ever included a plant or animal raised in Utah.

      Enforcing labelling on an arbitrary basis does in fact create a barrier because your choice of what is a mandatory label *itself* conveys information ("we politicians aren't confident this is safe for human consumption, but aren't willing to ban it outright either"). And the thing is, that's what presumably any product that intentionally contains no GMO truly wants to advertise, so they should go ahead and advertise it. It's their right. I haven't seen a lot of these labels. There is "organic" which guarantees no GMO, but it also comes with some extra requirements you may not wish to impose, like limitations on pesticides and fertilizers.

      It's kind of like biased reporting. It is possible to report a sequence of things that everybody agrees are facts, in such a way as to suggest something that is non-factual. That's what bias is.

    • I oppose it and have no direct financial stake. I do however not want food prices to include the cost of dealing with all the BS bickering and never ending stream of folks that claim certain products are or are not properly labelled. I agree that individual state rules that differ cause labeling problems, and can impact distribution since certain labels would not be allowed in certain states, so you can't just re-direct a shipment.

      And, since there is no evidence that GMO foods in general have negative he
    • There is a cost associated with labelling. I'm not interested in paying more for my groceries due to anti-GMO fear mongering.

      GMO-free providers can choose to label their food (as some do now). This lets consumers purchase GMO-free foods if they place a greater value on those and keeps the cost of doing so on the product they value more.

    • I think GMO labels hurt consumers. The name "genetically modified" is disingenuous to begin with. There's a good chance that everything you have ever eaten has been genetically modified through evolution by human intervention. To throw some food into a category of "dangerous", because humans used a slightly more scientific approach, with absolutely no evidence of harm, that just so happens to be the cheapest and most productive source of food, would drive consumers away from GMO foods, and then drive far
      • Everybody in rich countries would pay more for food, while people in poorer countries would literally starve to death because of those labels. ... Informed consumers would not care about the label, while uninformed consumers (the vast majority, yourself included) would be actively killing people across the globe with their ignorance and fear.

        I'm not sure that I quite understand, can you introduce an even more ridiculous level of hyperbole? How about some FUD? Maybe it would help if you compared me with a Nazi (c'mon, mandatory labeling? It shouldn't be that much of a stretch for you).

    • I'd object without any financial stake because it doesn't fucking make sense.

      EVERY SINGLE ORGANIC* FOOD YOU EAT HAS BEEN "GENETICALLY MODIFIED" FROM ITS ORIGINAL FORM by (at the very least) selective breeding if not more intrusive means.

      *ironically, the only "food" you can eat and totally avoid this would be entirely synthetic things like Twizzlers and Sweetarts. Have at it, Luddites.

  • "This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food...

    I think you mean "this legislation will ensure that Americans have no way of knowing they're being sold GMO food."

  • by Chalnoth ( 1334923 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:39PM (#50120421)
    Labeling laws like this convey no real information to the consumer. They just add a word to the food item that many people interpret as frightening, a word that has literally zero impact on the safety or sustainability of the food item. This is definitely a win for people everywhere in the US.
    • by new_01 ( 4014887 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:41PM (#50120441)
      Exactly. GMO labeling laws are analogous to labeling table salt as "NOTICE: HAS CHEMICALS!".
      • by slew ( 2918 )

        Exactly. GMO labeling laws are analogous to labeling table salt as "NOTICE: HAS CHEMICALS!".

        FWIW, in California, every supermarket has this posted near the fresh produce section, but not associated with any particular product.

        Proposition 65 WARNING: Products contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

        This clearly conveys the real and important information to the consumer about the fresh produce for sale at every supermarket in California ;^)

    • I'm not really sure how GMO labeling helps. Non-GMO labeling may help, but that happens mostly voluntary. It to me it isn't a safety issue, unless you are going to say, this corn or wheat isn't as nutritious as a natural product, or this product only appears to resemble a tomato, it may not smell, taste or provide nutrients found in natural tomatoes. It isn't all that clear to me what path forward we can take to give more people access to better food. Sure I prefer to buy organic, non-GMO, free range, hormo

    • Labeling laws like this convey no real information to the consumer.

      Yes it does. It informs the consumer whether the food contains GMO or not. And some consumers care about this and wish to be informed.

      They just add a word to the food item that many people interpret as frightening, a word that has literally zero impact on the safety or sustainability of the food item.

      So if the consumers are put off by GMO then the solution is to hide the fact? People of Asian and Jewish religion are put off by products containing pork. Maybe you could argue that pork is perfectly safe and they are over reacting. So should we just hide the fact that some food contains pork because we know better than they do that pork is safe?

      This is definitely a win for people everywhere in the US.

      How is hiding information that

  • This is right up there with Cheneys "working group" and the "Halliburton Clause" making the fluids used for fracking "proprietary" and not beholden to the Clean Water act.
  • Labling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @06:43PM (#50120467) Homepage Journal

    I think we should have mandatory labeling on anything that contains DNA, just to be safe.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Genetically modified", all food is genetically modified. Humans have domesticated, modified by selection, hybridation and other means, all the food since the beginnings of agriculture. Labelling this or that is therefore simply a lie, because all should be labelled, then.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      "But there's a big difference in crossing a tomato with a tomato and crossing a tomato with a fish." - Leslie Stahl, 60 Minutes.
    • by MpVpRb ( 1423381 )

      The old methods of crossbreeding were limited and judged by nature. The available tools were crude and impotent and nature acted as "referee" to keep bad shit from happening

      The new methods may bypass this protection

    • And technically all food is some measure of "organic" compounds. But just like that's not what people mean when they say "organic" this also isn't what anyone is talking about with regards to GMO. GMO in this context is quite obviously interpreted to mean synthetic. As in a modification that cannot naturally occur such as inserting a gene from salmon into soy.
  • Putin just states that GMOs will be forbidden in Russia. This is not even a joke:

    http://sustainablepulse.com/20... [sustainablepulse.com]

    We will now be witness to a very large controlled experiment.

    I have all ready arranged an explanation for you guys when Russia shows lower rates of disease X and scientists proclaim the "Russia Paradox":

    1. There is better disease reporting in the west.
    2. Russian statistics are doctored by corrupt officials.
    3. Moderate vodka consumption has health benefits.

  • I remember first seeing on a container of recombinant-bovine-growth-hormone-free yogurt that stated there was no difference between it and rbgh containing yogurt.

    I thought - "What? Why would the manufacturer put both of those labels on his product?" Of course, it's because the agricultural lobby paid off politicians in order to force non-rBGH manufacturers to put such labels on their product.

    You know how Tom Wheeler, former top lobbyist for the cable industry is now head of the FCC? Yeah, it's safe to ass

  • Any person who pays attention knows that ALL processed food contains GMOs

    Unless you know the farmer personally, or REALLY trust the advertising of the "organic" producers, it's safe to assume that ALL corn and soybeans, and ALL products made from corn and soybeans contain GMOs

    Kinda reminds me of Cal prop 65, requiring sellers to disclose if their products caused cancer in lab animals. Now EVERY product has the warning, and everybody ignores it

  • by Mattsson ( 105422 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @05:17AM (#50123379) Journal

    I don't understand the problem with simply specifying what they are selling?
    And as a consumer, regardless of if you are for or against the creation, use and spread of genetically modified organisms, why would you ever not want your food labeled with what it is?
    For instance, where I live, food is usually labeled with where it has been produced and where it's been packaged. Since I think needlessly long transports of goods are idiotic, I tend to buy as locally produced and handled meat and vegetables as possible, even if it sometimes is a bit more expensive due to my country's high cost of labor and strict regulations on how you are allowed to treat your animals and what pesticides you allowed to use.
    If the food hadn't been labeled, I wouldn't have the freedom of choosing where I want my food produced and packaged.
    Same thing with actively genemanipulated food. If it isn't labeled, I am not free to choose if I want to buy "naturally" breed products or if I want to buy genetically modified products. That freedom is dependent on the producers informing me of what they're selling me.

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