Sunday, July 17, 2016

Overdue Update On Our Battle Against The Scourge Of GMOs

I've been busy with life, among other things.

I'll attempt to get back to a more regular schedule of posting, but for now, visit the offered URLs:

We have one last chance to beat the DARK Act - can we do it?

Linda B. Rosenthal
The ‪#‎DARKAct‬ is an industry-sponsored attempt to confuse consumers and confound state-level GMO labeling efforts. Check out my letter to POTUS, signed by colleagues from 10 other states. ‪#‎Labelit‬ ‪#‎Righttoknow‬
Dear Mr. President:
We write as the prime sponsors of state legislation to require mandatory on package labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We respectfully request that should it make it to your desk for consideration, you veto Senate Bill 764, which would expressly preempt state action on GMO labeling and create a confusing federal regulatory scheme.
While federal action is often preferred to avoid creating a patchwork of state laws, the federal legislation currently under consideration would create just the patchwork that we so often seek to avoid. It would additionally place the burden of parsing incoherent regulation squarely on the shoulders of consumers. While S.B 764 would mandate labeling and expressly preempt any state action on GMO labeling, it would allow manufacturers to determine whether to affix a label on the product package or in the alternative to affix a QR code, which the consumer could scan using a smart phone.
That assumes, of course, that all Americans have access to smart phones, that all supermarkets, grocery stores, delis, bodegas and other places where packaged food is sold to consumers across the county provide reliable access to the internet and that consumers, racing through the store on the way home from an eight-hour work day before stopping to pick up the kids from daycare and getting home to cook a healthy and nutritious dinner have the luxury of time this legislation would require to stop and scan the QR code of each and every product before they toss it in their cart.
In addition, smaller manufacturers would be exempted from the labeling requirements altogether, and will instead simply be required to offer consumers an on-package phone number or URL from which to obtain additional information about GMO content.
Consumers will be easily confused by these inconsistent requirements, and it is easy to foresee situations in which a consumer could fairly but incorrectly conclude that a product is GMO-free simply because it does not contain an on-package label. Though there are currently 17 state laws pending or passed, the laws we authored are striking for their commonalities and not their differences. Allowing these state laws to proceed would create a far more standard approach to food product labeling than the federal bill under consideration.
The vast majority of Americans, in fact more than 90%, support GMO labeling because like us, they believe they have a right to know what is in the food they eat and feed to their families. Allowing S.B. 764 to become law would deny Americans information that they have deemed is critical to their purchasing decisions by creating a confusing and convoluted labeling scheme.
As state legislators who have stood firm in the face of intense opposition from the biotechnology industry and its powerful lobby to protect consumers and their families, we respectfully ask that you stand with us now and veto S.B. 764 should it come before you. Thank you.
Most Respectfully,

Linda B. Rosenthal
Member of Assembly – 67th AD

Jeffrey Dinowitz
New York State Assembly
Kenneth P. Lavalle
New York State Senate
Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Legislature
Geran Tarr
Alaska State Legislature
Chris Tuck
Alaska State Legislature
Diana Urban
Connecticut State Legislature
David Koehler
Illinois State Senate
David Burns
Maine State Legislature
Michelle Dunphy
Maine State Legislature
Ellen Story
Massachusetts State Legislature
John Marty
Minnesota State Senate
Roger Singer
New Jersey State Senate
Joseph F. Vitale
New Jersey State Senate
Blake A. Filippi
Rhode Island State Legislature
Carolyn W. Partridge
Vermont State Legislature
Michael Sirotkin
Vermont State Legislature
Kathryn Webb
Vermont State Legislature
Teo Zagar
Vermont State Legislature
David Zuckerman
Vermont State Legislature

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