Yesterday we documented the Senate shenanigans on last month’s omnibus spending bill, where an anti-GMO labeling contingent pushed hard to sneak in a rider that would ban state-by-state GMO labeling laws, among other anti-GMO labeling whoppers. But there was a second part to that story, which favored the pro-labeling side, particularly related to GE salmon labeling. Per The Hill —
The $1.1. trillion bill to fund the government through September 2016 contains language that prohibits the agency from introducing any food that contains genetically engineered salmon until it publishes its final labeling guidelines. The spending bill also directs the FDA to use $150,000 of its funding to develop these guidelines and implement a program to disclose to consumers whether salmon offered for sale to consumers is of a genetically engineered variety.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) voiced her support of the mandatory labeling provision in the bill —
“The FDA’s genetically engineered salmon decision is bad for consumers and potentially bad for our environment. If the FDA doesn’t reverse its decision, it’s critical the agency develop clear and transparent labeling requirements for genetically engineered salmon.”
It was Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska, pictured above) who truly led the charge here, as the new provision was previously agreed to by the Senate Appropriations Committee — the Senate committee though to be the most powerful, and one in which Lisa is indeed a member. Which, of course, raises questions. Now if you’re anti-GMO, or at least very pro-GMO labeling, you’re happy, right? But should you be?
Granted, this is certainly less far-reaching than a rider that overrides individual state laws, but still, isn’t it just slamming in a mandate where it really doesn’t belong? Even if you approve of what the new bill does, shouldn’t you still be disturbed by the method?
Yesterday we quoted the EWG’s Colin O’Neil, who, in response to the anti-GMO labeling rider, said —
“An end-of-the-year, must-pass spending bill is the wrong vehicle to address an issue as important as our right to know what’s in our food and how it’s grown.”
Agreed. So what makes it OK to slam in a provision like this on an omnibus spending bill? Applauding one action but condemning the other, that’s hypocritical, regardless of an end result you may favor. No matter where you sit on the GMO controversy, when we start letting the end justify the means, it opens a door that the human race of the 21st century should no longer need to open. We’re better than that… and it’s time we start showing it.
–Eric Battersby (The Walk a Mile Project)
To read more on the new regulation, visit: