A federal law which in effect “Denies Americans the Right to Know” about GMO ingredients in their food is scheduled for further Senate action today (July 7, 2016). But it’s buried as an obscure amendment to Senate S.764, a bill to defund Planned Parenthood for one year.
The biotech lobby and their well-supported Senate allies are using this old parliamentary technique: Attach a potentially hard-to-pass “rider” to a bill which is highly likely to gain widespread support. In this case, S.Amdt.4935 is embedded in the main legislation on Planned Parenthood, S.764. On July 7, the Senate voted to move the entire package forward.
In effect, the legislation would allow manufacturers of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) to avoid clear-cut, simple disclosure printed on food labels, such as “This product contains genetically engineered ingredients.”
Instead, the bill would enable food marketers to scan a computer label with a smartphone, or make a direct phone call or other inquiry of the manufacturer. The only “disclosure” on the package would be a notation such as “For more information, scan this code or call this number.”
The GMO food marketers know that only a tiny percentage of food buyers will take the time, or will have the technical knowhow, to scan a QC code or make a toll-free phone call and wait for a company response.
A major impact: The bill would pre-empt state and local governments from requiring clear GMO labeling. Vermont’s GMO labeling law went into effect July 1. This law would be nullified, denying Vermont’s citizens a democratically chosen choice.
Widespread outrage among anti-GMO advocates of organic and non-GMO food hasn’t fazed lawmakers, most of whom have ignored the rising sea of evidence that the total syndrome of genetically engineered crops and the toxic chemicals linked with them are causing long-term health damage worldwide. For example, the Center for Food Safety is urging citizens to call their senators and oppose the “sham” labeling bill.
And the activist group Food Democracy Now rallied citizens on their Facebook page, asking that they call their senators.
Even the Food and Drug Administration is warning that the DARK Act pre-empts the FDA’s normal food regulatory role by giving broad authority over GMO disclosure to the Secretary of Agriculture — not the FDA.
More than 60 nations ban or regulate GMO foods, so the concerns of U.S. citizens is not simply a Luddite “greenie” reaction. It’s based on close observation of the few long-term clinical trials done with GMOs, plus studies of affected populations where people are heavily effected with GMOs and related toxins such as glyphosate.
The most impassioned plea we’ve seen on this issue arrived this morning from Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America. We’re taking the liberty of posting her entire e-mail here, which she sent out July 6:
My mother taught me to always see the good in people.
Today has been very challenging to do so.
Today [July 6, 2016] most of our Senators sold out to Big Ag. 65 Yeays and 32 Nays by our elected officials means the S.764 bill will move forward for a final vote from the Senate. First, they are allowed 30 hours to debate. So be prepared for long winded speeches from the PRO side, filled with lies, and passionate speeches from the Nay side which will renew your faith in humanity. Link to view : http://www.c-span.org/schedule/?channel=today
Today, as I watched the live proceedings with Vermont farmer and activist Will Allen of Cedar Circle Farm, long time activist Michael, and one of our causes biggest supporters, David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s, some very good people, I was both deeply saddened and outraged by the large number of Senators that voted against the will of the American public. I was also delighted and immensely grateful for the strong, clear and impassioned statement by Senator Merkley in opposition to the bill.
Merkley starts his speech at 2:20
Watch here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?412291-2/us-senate-gmo-food-labeling-bill-advances
Afterwards, my 13 year old son said, “Mom, when I watched that Senator’s speech, I knew that there are good people in the world.”
Tears came to my eyes.
There are many tragic, sad, violent, and unfortunate events driven by greed in the world. For my sons to know some good is all I need sometimes.
Even if I have trouble finding the good, my children will…and their perspective, their joy and my love for them will carry me through to the next day to try again to bring the light to others so that they too see the good.
Don’t give up everyone. Don’t give into blaming people. Don’t dismiss your Senator as a lost cause. Really.
If you do give up on your Senator and/or our government there is ZERO opportunity for change.
If you have faith that they might change, if you see a tiny possibility, then suddenly ideas start to appear.
Suddenly, when you see people as capable of doing something different, then new opportunities present themselves.
They can still change their vote and our voice still does matter.
Tomorrow you can still contact your Senator. There are amendments being proposed which are sound and just.
We expect their debate and speeches to happen Thursday morning at 8:15 am ET and the vote to happen Friday morning but anything, frankly could happen. Call 202-224-3121. Email contact info here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
We will post updates as possible.
Please know that our cause is more committed than ever. We know that Monsanto has donated tens of millions of dollars to our elected officials and we will remember how they voted.
See OCA’s action, a Money Drop in the Senate here, by Alexis and Adam, joined by a MAA Mom supporter Marghi who was compelled to join OCA’s initiative:
All three were arrested and will need to go to court. More details coming as available.
Many feel it is time to take new actions to let our Senators know we want our rights to be protected.
Whatever they are, we come from the dedication for our families and love for health and freedom.
We welcome your ideas, collaboration, leadership and support.
If the bill does pass the Senate Friday, the bill will go next to the House, then to Obama. There is still hope that one of these entities will stop it.
We will continue to empower millions to educate themselves about GMOs and related toxins and offer solutions regardless of labeling,
because if we don’t buy it, they cannot sell it!
Onward Moms and supporters!!!
Zen Honeycutt and MAA Team
Moms Across America