I had hope…
When I first learned that President Obama had signed into effect the Roberts/Stabenow bill that required the labeling of GM foods I was excited. And then I sat down and read the bill and, like many others, found myself disappointed in the scope of the bill.
There were two major issues that came to the fore-front after reading the bill. One was the scope of application. It reads:
“(c) APPLICATION TO FOODS.—This subtitle shall 6 apply only to a food subject to—‘‘(1) the labeling requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 9 et seq.); or ‘‘(2) the labeling requirements under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451 13 et seq.), or the Egg Products Inspection Act (21 14 U.S.C. 1031 et seq.) only if— ‘‘(A) the most predominant ingredient of the food would independently be subject to the labeling requirements under the Federal Food, 18 Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et 19 seq.); or ‘‘(B)(i) the most predominant ingredient of the food is broth, stock, water, or a similar solution; and ‘‘(ii) the second-most predominant ingredient of the food would independently be subject to the labeling requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 2 301 et seq.)”
In summary, what this is saying is that a food will be subject to the labeling law only if the primary ingredient is genetically modified, or if the primary ingredient is broth, stock, water or other liquid, then the second primary ingredient is subject to labeling. Beyond that, nothing else on the list of ingredients is required for labeling.
The second thing that stuck out to me is the following:
‘‘(A) prohibit a food derived from an animal to be considered a bioengineered food solely because the animal consumed feed produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered substance”
This means that, even if an animal that is designated to become meat for consumption has knowingly consumed GM foods, they are not subject to GM labeling.
What are we going to miss?
If you reflect with me for a moment on the biggest GMO crops that we know of today, one of them is soy and the one of the others is sugar beets. How often do you pick up a box and see either of those ingredients in the top two? The only times I can think would be if you are eating tofu or sugar beets. Other than that, if either of those two foods is included in the ingredients farther down the list, there is no requirement for them to the GM labeled.
This bill, in my opinion, does very little service to the community. At first glance it sounded great but now it seems like a patsy way to attempt to appease the community that wants to see an honest disclosure of what is their food, all the while protecting the financial investment of the government in the genetically modified food movement.
You can read the full bill here.
What do you think?