Should GMOs be labeled? (HR1599)

Summary of Congressional bill HR 1599 (114th):

  • Requires the FDA to review all GMOs before it hits the marketplace.
  • Prevents states from requiring GMO labeling.
  • Provides for a national standard for labeling of GMO-free (like the Organic label).

In Depth:

  • Also creates a national standard for labeling of products with GMOs.
  • Vermont has a mandatory GMO labeling law coming into effect in July.
  • Connecticut & Maine have also passed mandatory GMO labeling laws.
  • This bill also prevents states from restricting GMOs from using the “natural” label.
    • Meaning, if GMOs are present, they’re still allowed to use the “natural” label.

Vote Yes if you believe:

  • Having a standardized national food labeling framework instills more trust in consumers.
  • Different regulations in different states creates problems and increases costs for farmers. #FederalVsState #RegulatoryBurden
  • GMOs are safe and not that different from traditional cross-breeding methods. #GMO

Vote No if you believe:

  • We should have mandatory labeling of GMO foods. #GMO #StateAuthority
  • People have the right to know what’s in their food. #FoodSafety #Transparency
  • The FDA could take a long time to approve GMOs. #FDA #GMO link to HR 1599

(This is the 1st draft of the summary for a bill in Polinav. Summary & In-Depth is non-partisan & Vote yes/no reasons are fact-checked. if you think something is wrong, should be added or deleted, comment below!)

My personal opinion of GMOs are that they aren’t harmful for human consumption, up to a certain point. In my mind, GMOs are just much more targeted cross-breeding. Instead of cross-breeding the apples that brown the slowest, you find the gene that causes the browning and create a GMO that doesn’t have that gene. There can be some unintended consequences, but that comes with traditional cross-breeding as well. I also view GMOs as a potential solution for our problem of feeding the world.

So, with that said, would I want GMOs to be labeled? I really don’t mind I guess? I think that giving companies a two year window to comply would be feasible. That gives them time to run through their product cycles & figure out what’s going on in their supply chain, so they can design new labels for the next product cycles. I also like that this legislation creates both a “GMO-free” certification & a “GMO” certification. For me, I could envision companies touting: “Our apples stay fresh 50% longer than Delicious Reds!” with a “GMO” certification on it, verifying that the claim is correct.

So, I’m for labeling, but think voluntary labeling works better, because it asks companies whether they want to disclose it or not. Because I don’t believe GMOs are inherently more dangerous than their non-GMO counterparts, I don’t think it should be mandatory. So make it voluntary for both sides, so they can either tout that they’re “GMO-free” or that they use “GMOs”. Than, consumers can decide with their dollars which industry they want to support. If consumers really want GMO-free products, than those with that certification will fetch a premium & discourage research into GMOs. Let the people choose :).

I would want my representatives to vote YES on this bill!



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