On the eve of March against Monsanto Senate shoots down GMO labeling bill


As 200,000 people prepare to march against Monsanto, the Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would allow states to decide if genetically modified food products should be labeled.

The amendment shot down by the Senate would have allowed states to make their own decisions on whether or not GMO foods should be labeled – without mandating any action. Supporters originally believed that this measure was non-controversial, and simply gave states an option. But the Senate voted 71 to 27 against it on Thursday, days before Saturday’s March Against Monsanto.

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (AFP Photo / Mark Willson)

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (AFP Photo / Mark Willson)

“The concept we’re talking about today is a fairly commonsense and non-radical idea,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the bill’s sponsor, told the Huffington Post before the vote. “All over the world, in the European Union, in many other countries around the world, dozens and dozens of countries, people are able to look at the food that they are buying and determine through labeling whether or not that product contains genetically modified organisms.”

Sanders also explained that the Food and Drug Administration requires more than 3,000 ingredients to be labeled on food products, but that GMOs are not on this list.

But opponents of the measure argued that GMOs should not be labeled, since the FDA has not made scientific conclusions that would require it. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chair of the Agriculture Committee, said the amendment that was shot down was not relevant to the farm bill. She also emphasized the importance of Monsanto in providing foods at lower prices that help feed people around the world – an argument often made by supporters of the biotech giant.

“I believe we must rely on the FDA’s science-based examination before we make conclusions about food ingredients derived from genetically modified foods,” she said. “They currently do not require special labeling because they’ve determined that food content of these ingredients does not materially differ from their conventional counterparts.”

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