VT Right to Know GMOs denounces Senate passage of “compromise” GMO labeling bill

In a late night vote on Thursday, the US Senate passed S. 764, a GMO labeling proposal put forward by Senator Stabenow (D-Mich) and Senator Roberts (R-Kan).

This bill would eliminate Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law, and delay any labeling for up to two years while the Secretary of Agriculture develops rules. Food manufacturers would be allowed to label GE products with words, pictures, or a digital code that consumers would have to scan with their smartphones, if they own one and have cell service inside their grocery store. This proposal has a number of substantial flaws and is strongly opposed by the Vermont Right to Know Coalition, Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, Representative Welch, Governor Shumlin, and consumer and environmental groups around the country.

Andrea Stander, Executive Director of Rural Vermont, an advocacy group for small farmers, reacted to the vote, saying:

“Every Vermonter, and every American who cares about the food they eat and the democracy they live in, should be outraged by what the U.S. Senate just did. This bill is a corporate giveaway masquerading as a GMO labeling ‘compromise.’ Senate leadership has chosen corporate lobbyists over the 90% of Americans who support labeling. Without a single committee hearing, and allowing for no amendments, they’ve passed a bill so riddled with loopholes and delays, so unenforceable, that even the FDA has argued it may not lead to a single product being labeled. They should be ashamed.”

NOFA Vermont Policy Advisor Maddie Monty responded to last night’s outcome, saying, “We are extremely proud of Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders who were steadfast in defending and upholding the will of the people on the Senate floor last night. Unfortunately, corporate food and agribusiness interests have once again outweighed the needs of the American people in Washington. While we are outraged and disappointed by last night’s vote, we will remain vigilant in urging the House of Representatives and President Obama to stand with the people and reject this disgraceful, anti-consumer legislation.”

VPIRG Consumer and Environmental Advocate Falko Schilling commented on yesterday’s vote saying: “It’s extremely disappointing to see the Senate vote in support of this sham labeling proposal. This bill is nothing but a corporate giveaway aimed at keeping consumers in the dark about what’s in their food. We urge the House of Representatives and the President to reject the Stabenow-Roberts proposal. We also want to thank our congressional delegation for their strong support for a consumer’s right to know.”