Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
I know you’re busy with last-minute Christmas shopping and holiday preparations, but I want to pass along this quick update on GMO labelling because I know it’s one of the things that matter most to you.
And for once, this news is good: an early holiday gift to you from Congress. (Who would have thought?)
You may have heard that last Friday Congress passed the $1.15 trillion spending bill. It was a behemoth 2,242 pages that “nobody read,” according to Sen. Rand Paul.
Well, despite whatever terrible bits of legislation and riders made it through, there’s one thing that didn’t for which we can be thankful: a voluntary GM labelling policy.
Some members of Congress wanted to sneak a policy rider into the omnibus spending package that would pre-empt state GMO-labelling laws. This potential provision would make labelling GM-containing foods voluntary, not mandatory.
Not surprisingly, this policy was fully supported by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a trade organization for the junk food industry (who would greatly suffer if GM labelling were made mandatory).
They were hoping for something along the lines of HR 1599, otherwise known as the “DARK Act,” which we’ve covered in detail here
Luckily for us, their Christmas wish didn’t come true.
And to make things even better for us, here’s what did make it into the omnibus:
“During fiscal year 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shall not allow the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food that contains genetically engineered salmon until FDA publishes final labeling guidelines for informing consumers of such content; and
(b) Of the amounts made available to the Food and Drug Administration, salaries and expenses, not less than $150,000 shall be used to develop labeling guidelines and implement a program to disclose to consumers whether salmon offered for sale to consumers is a genetically engineered variety.”
That’s right! If this regulation stays in place, GM salmon will have to be labelled as such before they are allowed on the market!
Frankly, I’m not celebrating too much, because it feels too good to be true. Is the government really listening to what consumers want? I’m not convinced just yet.
So long as GM foods (and lobbyists) exist, another bill similar to the DARK Act is bound to wind up on the House and Senate floors.
We have to stay vigilant. We have to keep hounding our reps that we deserve to know what we are eating. And we have to keep voting with our dollars.
Though GM crops will never go away, it’s become clear to companies like Monsanto that the majority of the public is against GMOs. And they are getting the message; in fact, that they’ve started to go back to traditional crossbreeding techniques.
But for now, we can go into the holiday season with a nice little gift knowing that in the battle to label GM foods, we’re winning.