Countdown to GMO Labeling - But We're Not There Yet

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Countdown to GMO Labeling - But We're Not There Yet

If Vermont’s GMO labeling law goes into effect next week, it’ll have implications across the country. But a terrible new bill in the Senate could take that away.

'In the face of their money and influence, it’s amazing that our movement for transparency in our food is winning – but we are.' But the stakes are once again raised and this next battle is a big one. (Photo: Food & Water Watch)

In seven days, if all goes well, labeling genetically engineered (GMO) ingredients will be the law in Vermont. But the Senate is scrambling to keep that from happening. Just yesterday, Senators Roberts (R-KS) and Stabenow (D-MI) announced a “compromise” deal that would overturn Vermont’s law and essentially ban meaningful GMO labels.

We’ve held off bad deals like this one before, but this new deal is truly terrible, and we need to step up the pressure on our Senators to keep it from passing. The bill will preempt state laws that require on-package GMO labeling in exchange for a website URL, a QR code, a symbol or a phone number on the package that will send shoppers on a wild scavenger hunt to figure out what GMOs might be in their food.

That’s not real GMO labeling, and that’s not what we need. Can you take action, even if you have before, to protect GMO labeling?

If we hold off this last-ditch effort by Monsanto and their friends, Vermont’s new law will benefit us all. After years of hard work and dedicated organizing by so many people and organizations, across the country many companies are beginning to roll out GMO labels on all their products, nationwide, in preparation for the Vermont law taking effect.

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Companies like Monsanto that produce GMOs are frantic to keep labels off GMO foods, for fear people won’t buy them if they know what they’re eating. GMO ingredients end up in our food after a rubber-stamp approval process at the FDA, and they show up in many of the processed foods at the grocery store. Big Food companies are worried about their mega-profits, not our health. They’ve been lobbying Congress hard to take away states’ rights to label GMOs and to prevent any possibility of a federal requirement for mandatory on-package labeling.

In the face of their money and influence, it’s amazing that our movement for transparency in our food is winning – but we are. It’s taken long-term pressure from over 203,000 Food & Water Watch supporters like you and hundreds of ally organizations, but it looks increasingly likely that Vermont’s law will take effect a week from today. That’s a big victory for all of us.

But no matter what happens on July 1, this struggle is far from over. If Monsanto doesn’t get its way this week, they’ll keep pushing until the Vermont law is overturned. We need to not only protect our gains, but expand them. Here’s our plan for what a real victory against Monsanto looks like:

  1. Immediate defeat of efforts to stop the Vermont law from going into effect.
  2. Mandatory on-package labeling of GMO ingredients in all 50 states.
  3. A halt on the approval of all new genetically engineered foods and animals until we fix our regulatory system to employ the precautionary principle and independent science.
  4. Protection for organic and non-GMO farmers from predatory chemical companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow and Dupont that make GMO seeds.
  5. A mobilized movement that is ready to hold our government agencies accountable for ensuring the safety of our food, making sure no existing or new technologies like gene-editing and synthetic biology are allowed unless we’ve made absolutely certain, through independent science, that they are safe for our health and the environment.

Are you with us? We need your help in this critical moment to protect GMO labeling. You can remind your senators to stand strong on GMO labeling next week and donate to help protect and expand GMO labeling in the months to come.

Jo Miles

Jo Miles is the Digital Program Director for Food and Water Watch. 

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