2012 Farm Bill Moves to Senate Floor, GMO Labels One of the Amendments

As the 2012 Farm Bill (S. 3240) moves to the Senate floor for a vote, Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced an amendment (SA 2256) requiring genetically engineered foods to be labeled.

Sanders gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, saying Americans have a basic "right to know what they’re eating and feeding their families."

He pointed to the powerful corporations, mostly Monsanto, that are preventing this basic right from being codified. In his own state of Vermont, state legislators didn’t pass a GMO labeling law – that 90% of the state supports – because they were threatened by lawsuits. The same thing happened in Connecticut recently.

Some of the facts he discussed:

  • almost 50 countries require GMO labels
  • 93% of pregnant women contain genetically engineered Bt toxin in their blood.
  • Monsanto’s Roundup tolerant GMOs have led to the rise of superweeds that now infest more than 10 million acres in 22 states – predicted to reach 40 million acres by mid-decade. That’s leading to approval of even more toxic GMOs like Agent Orange corn.

This week, the California Secretary of State’s office announced the referendum on GMO labeling in California, the "Right to Know" initiative, will be on the ballot this November. The historic initiative would be the first GMO labeling law in the US.

There is also a move to get a referendum on Oregon’s ballot.

Industries are fighting back through the "Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition," arguing labels would increase food prices. Besides Monsanto and the GMO industry, food companies that use GMOs ingredients in products are against labeling, including Pepsi, Kraft, Kellogg’s and others. They market so-called "natural" foods that sell at premium prices that rival those of non-GMO and organic foods – even though they contain GMOs.

One million people submitted comments to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a petition for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, more than any other petition in FDA history. 20 states have tried to legislate GMO labeling, but none have succeeded due to intense opposition from corporate special interests.

Polls show nearly unanimous support (91%) across the political spectrum for labeling GMOs.

If the referendum passes, major food companies say they would remove all GMO ingredients from their products – as they did in Europe – rather than label food with what consumers might regard as a skull and crossbones.

More on the Farm Bill

The Organic Consumers Association says: "Ever wonder why organic foods are relatively more expensive and sometimes hard to find, while Monsanto and biotech-derived junk foods are cheap and omnipresent?

It’s because of a federal law known as the Farm Bill that uses billions of dollars of our tax money every year to subsidize factory farms, biotech crops, and chemical agriculture.

The Farm Bill is also a major reason why obesity, diet-related disease and health care costs are skyrocketing. It’s partly why food production is responsible for more than half of greenhouse gas emissions and farm run-off is fouling drinking water and creating dead-zones in the ocean."

As currently written, the Farm Bill cuts spending $23.6 billion over 10 years. It leaves Big Ag subsidies unscathed, and raises funds for biofuels, while cutting important conservation programs, research on organics and beginning farmer programs, and nutritional programs such as Food Stamps.

Here are the amendments which would benefit small, organic farmers, jobs and animals. 

It’s a Subsidy Buffet for Agribiz, Table Scraps for Good Food, says the Environmental Working Group:

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Comments on “2012 Farm Bill Moves to Senate Floor, GMO Labels One of the Amendments”

  1. Cris Ericson

    Cris Ericson is running against Bernie Sanders for United States Senator for Vermont 2012.

    Who cares enough about marijuana legalization to start a political Super PAC to promote marijuana legalization political candidates?

    United States Marijuana Party candidate Cris Ericson has been certified to be on the offficial election ballot in Vermont for the general election Nov. 6, 2012, and she is running against incumbent Bernie Sanders for the U.S. Senate seat, and she is also running against incumbent Peter Shumlin for Governor of Vermont.

    2008 WNYT Cris Ericson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzjpmkfpi8s

    2004 & 2010 Cris Ericson C-Span BIO: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/crisericson

    2006, 2008, 2010 CCTV Cris Ericson: http://www.cctv.org/%22cris%20ericson%22

    UNITED STATES MARIJUANA PARTY in Vermont http://usmjp.com

  2. Gern Blansten

    ^Cris Ericson, Bernie Sanders is one of the last remaining good senators we have. Take your single issue platform to a state that actually needs a replacement, like Lieberman in CT.

  3. wiseoldsnail

    i know this discussion began a long time ago, but … ^what gern blansten said.

    we need to stop doing these half measures. what good does it do the planet or our right not only to our health, but the health of the planet, for us to only require labeling of gmo and chemical toxins, instead of outright banning them? while we’re at it, we can reclaim the seed trade to the people. it shouldn’t be legal to own a patent on a seed, nor to have a monopoly on seeds. that’s actually absurd.

    we can revoke the right : past, present, and future : to the hoarding of seeds. we can even require that seeds are traded directly and indirectly among farmers, and that no one shall own the right to seed strains or have the right to restrict any other person’s right to grow any seed of any plant.

    we can create legislation that severely punishes any practices or actions which endanger the lives of bees.

    also what good is ‘legalizing’ marijuana? we already have the right to our health and our personal choices that don’t negatively affect anyone and which do positively effect society as a whole. we need to repeal prohibition. if we spent a hundredth of what we spend on the failed drug war, we’d have plenty money for mental health services that include self control education regarding diet, substance use, medicinal responsibility … with a positive trade of hemp fiber california would probably profit enough to house every elder and child.

    what society allows elders and children to languish in the weather?


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