With no debate and only a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture today (July 14, 2015) passed out of committee H.R. 1599, a bill to preempt states’ rights to label GMOs. Within hours, it was announced that the bill will go straight to the House floor, as early as next week, with no vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Source: www.alternet.org , By Katherine Paul
If we don’t stop it in the House next week, the fight to stop this this “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts” will take place next in the U.S. Senate, before summer’s end.
In his opening statement this morning, Committee Chairman Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) (who shortly after today’s vote said he will co-sponsor H.R. 1599) couldn’t have sounded more like a Monsanto employee if he’d tried. Conaway nailed the biotech industry’s favorite talking points and mistruths, beginning with this one:
In testimony before this Committee, multiple representatives of the food and agricultural sectors commented on the cost burden that would be placed on our food system if we were to allow the 50 States, more than 3000 counties and nearly 20,000 towns and cities in the United States to establish their own laws regulating interstate commerce.
Time and again, independent experts have stated that the cost of labeling GMO foods and ingredients, to manufacturers, retailers and consumers, would be negligible here in the U.S., just as it has been in the more than 60 countries that already require labeling. GMO labels are costless, as pointed out in this Washington Post article. Companies regularly update their food packaging as they come up with new designs or marketing strategies.
And then there was the ultimate lie about GMOs, that they have been “proven safe:”
We all recognize that the overwhelming consensus within the science community is that these biotech products are safe. We likewise understand that each and every biotech product in the marketplace today has been reviewed thorough a voluntary food safety consultation process at the Food and Drug Administration.
Wrong. Ever since GMOs were introduced into the food system in the 1990s, without adequate, independent, pre-market safety testing, there have been scientists and studies and mounds of anecdotal evidence suggesting they are unsafe. The American Medical Association believes GMO foods should be subjected to pre-market safety testing. And there is surely no consensus, as hundreds of scientists worldwide have confirmed, on the safety of GMOs that have already been approved. That is a flat-out lie.
Conaway spoke instead about the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s “voluntary food safety consultation process” as if that were a valid means of proving safety.
Glaringly absent from Conaway’s statement was any mention of the toxic chemicals used to grow GMO crops, and allowed to remain as residue on GMO foods. Not one word was spoken about the World Health Organization’s recent determination that glyphosate, the chemical used on more than 80 percent of GMO crops, is a probably human carcinogen.
None of these statements, coming from a lawmaker with ties to Big Ag, were particularly surprising. But what should concern any consumer ,voter, citizen or just plain common-sense thinking human being, is that Conaway’s statement clearly focused on how to promote the profits of corporations, rather than on how to protect people from foods that have not been proven safe, and the arsenal of toxic chemicals used to grow them. It was all about “marketing,” and how we need a government program for food producers who want to voluntarily label their products as GMO-free, or containing GMOs.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has long been in the business of assisting producers to develop programs and tools to take advantage of market opportunities. The Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee recently examined the programs of the Agricultural Marketing Service. The Subcommittee concluded that the agency has the resources and expertise to develop and administer a robust marketing program for those wishing to notify consumers of the presence or absence of genetically engineered ingredients in their food products. What the agency doesn’t have is the law to make it work uniformly across the country like we did 25 years ago when we passed the Organic Foods Production Act.
Not one word on the devastation to the environment. Not one word on how chemical-intensive, fossil-fuel-intensive industrial agriculture is one of the largest contributors, if not the largest contributor, to global warming—and how if we don’t fix this system, we can’t be serious about averting a climate disaster.
As Pope Francis said recently, on the topic of genetic engineering and its use of toxic pesticides:
It creates a vicious circle in which the intervention of the human being to solve a problem often worsens the situation further. For example, many birds and insects die out as a result of toxic pesticides created by technology, they are useful to agriculture itself, and their disappearance will be compensated with another technological intervention that probably will bring new harmful effects… looking at the world we see that this level of human intervention, often in the service of finance and consumerism, actually causes the earth we live in to become less rich and beautiful, more and more limited and gray, while at the same time the development of technology and consumerism continues to advance without limits.
H.R. 1599 is an assault on consumer rights, an assault on democracy and states’ rights. And if passed, it will only escalate the assault on our health, and the health of Planet Earth.
Please help us continue to fight this disastrous and undemocratic piece of legislation.
I am sickened at how your profit seems to be more important than the right for people to know what they are eating or the concern of the environment!! At what point do you think money can buy back what you distroy for profit or people’s health and lives.
I am so mad! I have allergies when your 2% is enough to cause me to be sick for three days. GMO’s are not safe look at the cancer rate and ADD or OCD climb how dumb do you have to be not to see that all the tampering with nature is the cause or a very large contribution factor. Let’s look at all the “super bugs” and our honey bees all the reaserch comes back to your GMO’s. Do the math!
Mr. Pompeo is the face of a pig wearing a tie.
our elected officials really need to be removed when they act contrary to our desires and act according to the will of their corporate benefactors
This is a direct infringement on States Rights. How can anyone, with a brain, pass this?
The congress of the United States does not have the authority to dictate to the individual states on matters of just about anything but especially not on food safety. No matter how pretty the FDA or USDA tries to package it, the truth of the matter is that Monsanto does not feed the world, it poisons it.
This is purely a political expedient, self-serving to industry profits and industry lobbyists with total disregard of the public, public health and public rights to the knowledge that allows for informed choice. Shame on the congress that prostitutes itself to this scam.
You know, why don’t we all just assume that all of the food that contains corn or soy be GMO and boycott the product. Since they obviously don’t care about American lives.
Pompeo needs to be JAILED NOW!!
What self-serving liars. Everything these so-called representatives do is to line their pockets with tens of millions of dollars. This needs to be the last election where these evil incumbents have a job. We need term limits and we need Bernie Sanders to clean up their mess.
Passing this is an act of blatant, naked fascism. Period. No further discussion necessary on this reality aside from what to do about it.
So is the TPP, 21st century cures act, aspects of Obamacare and the many democrat led state removal of vaccine mandate exemptions in recent months. Fascism…the wave of the future!
Isn’t it ironic that conservative politicians are collectively pushing a radical agenda. Organic farming has been wrongfully branded as a liberal elitist movement as it sometimes costs a premium compared to “conventional” farm products and has been embraced by a decidedly liberal following.
In an epiphany yesterday, someone pointed out that organic farming was the tradition for thousands of years before the advent of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides, and that conventional farming is anything but conventional. By definition, GMOs have taken conventional farming into the realm of radical farming.
1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
2. cautiously moderate
3. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness:
4. having the power or tendency to conserve or preserve.
1. (especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
The only thing conservative about the DARK Act is the preservation of their seats in congress with the financial support of Big AG.
And democrats stomp all over health choice via vaccine mandates. Both parties supported TPP and 21st Century Cures Act [removing yet more safety and liability measures for big pharma],too. The sooner we can unite against all of these and understand that they are connected, the better. In fact, it’s usually democrats who are behind the push-state and federal-to prohibit or over regulate punitively the holistic industry. Something probably not realized by many.
Huh? The GOP are ALL GMO-deniers, claiming its just a costly issue for our people! HOGWASH!!!! If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bull____! And only the baffled will end up with the…!!!!
Somehow these Monsanto lackeys that have managed to get into the Senate and the House of Representatives need to get some really simple, basic schooling – that putting an ordinary seed (say, one kept from last year’s harvest) into some plain healthy unadulterated soil (like dirt that actually has worms, ants, bacteria producing the micronutrients that nourish crops) is “Traditional Farming”.
Anything else is Radical (and ill-informed) Farming – like the heroic measures foisted on the farming world by Monsanto and all the other huge agrichemical-businesses that cause mutant plants to spring up in a fraction of the normal time, and that have unfortunately a fraction of the nutrients, flavor or ability to sustain life.
Looking into the future, I feel confident GMO’s will have had two effects when looked back on in retrospect. One will be that they will have mingled their genetic materials, unasked and unwelcome, into all kinds of heretofore unadulterated plant and animal materials, irreparably polluting what had evolved and proved in the crucible of nature and through natural selection, and second, they will have been proven to have produced untold illness because the resulting materials (containing their Franken-genes) will be something that humans and other animals will prove to be unable to metabolize, or will metabolize but that will produce irregularities in the consumers bodies (irritable bowel, Celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and hosts of other auto-immune responses – with new diseases and disorders yet to be identified), simply because they are so foreign.
The unfortunate question has to be: Is it that these elected officials were always so dumb, uncaring and self-serving (and we refused to see it), or did they allow their real dumb, uncaring and self-serving true selves to appear only once they got into office?
OR, are we constantly proving ourselves to be the dumb ones by believing what they say when they’re reaching out for our votes? The time for election success based on likeableness, good grooming, and parroting talking points in an agreeably smooth voice – that time has passed. We just don’t have enough time to hope that the next “real personable guy” with the gleaming gold tooth has even thought of any of us, while he’s filling his pockets with agribusiness money and selling whatever passes for a soul.
Come on, all of us – let’s ask the really tough questions EVERY chance we get, every time there’s an election – even for town dog catcher.
The fact is, everything on this planet, every business, every human endeavor, every one of us is in fact a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Environment.
Without a workable, sustainable environment, clean food, clean water and air to sustain all of us (plants, animals, bugs, bacteria, everything), it really doesn’t make any difference who makes more or less money – we’ll all just be shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Let’s ensure we don’t let anything soil the only bed we have to sleep in. There’s no Plan B planet to go to – the closest possibility is about 200,000 years travel away (many times as long as we humans have been in our current form).
Even if we leave now, we won’t even be us by the time we could get there… and maybe that would be a good thing.