Hello, just wanted to share this info with you of US Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) going to bat for us little people about GMO food labeling and a couple of articles talking about what’s going on in more depth. If the current bill passes, essentially it will be a lot like most of what goes on when it comes to requiring corporations to do things that they don’t want to…..nothing. I’ve mentioned this topic before: https://saymber.com/2015/07/25/the-dark-act-h-r-1599-the-personal-deathstar-built-by-republican-mike-pompeo-of-kansas-and-Monsanto/.
What makes me a bit sad about all this is in the end, it probably doesn’t matter. Before you roll your eyes or get mad…hear me out. Genetically Modified Organisms were introduced into our biosphere in the 1980’s or earlier. I believe that ever since that point we were rendered incapable of ever being completely “organic” or “natural” again. Think about how air works, how water works, how weather patterns work, how pollen works….even the decomposition of living tissue into soil that has consumed the stuff! If you really think about it, everything we eat is already heavily, if not completely contaminated in various degrees. No amount of burning crops or destruction of what exists can cure this infestation. The only cure is Time. Only being able to travel back in time to the point from which GMO originates from can we stop what is happening to us now. Unless someone has figured that out, sadly we are all fucked in this regard. The only thing we can do now is focus on the nutrition of our food, and not making it any worse. “Knowing is ONLY half the battle.”
http://organic.lovetoknow.com/History_of_GMOs – the timeline of GMO’s…..this goes back to 1994 and earlier.
According to the University of California, the first GMO food — the Flavr Savr tomato which was genetically altered to have a longer shelf life — was approved in 1994. Although demand for the fruit was high, so were production costs so the tomato never achieved significant profits.
Also in 1994, Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology company, introduces a genetically modified bovine growth hormone (BGH) that could be injected into cows to increase milk production.
July 7, 2016 | Clip Of Senate Session
This clip, title, and description were not created by C-SPAN.
GMO Debate, July 7, 2016 – Senator Bernie Sanders speaks AGAINST the DARK Act Senator Bernie Sanders only has so much time to point out everything that is wrong with this bill, but in the short time allotted, he manages to get the main points across as fellow Vermont Senator, Patrick Leahy asks Bernie questions along the way, allowing for clarification of specific points not previously mentioned by anyone else
Food Jul 07, 2016
Sen. Bernie Sanders “expertly trolled” the Senators who support the so-called DARK Act
This bipartisan “compromise” bill, introduced after years of negotiations by Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, would require businesses to label genetically modified foods. That is, if you consider a QR code, 1-800 number or a website URL a label instead of clear, concise language that 9 out of 10 American consumers want and a number of major food companies have started doing anyway. The bill would also nullify state-by-state mandates such as Vermont’s and halt efforts by 30-odd states considering similar legislation.
The Senators’s bill is unsurprisingly backed by the very industry that produces and profits from such products, including the Grocery Manufactures Association, Monsanto, etc. Deep-pocketed food and beverage corporations have spent millions to lobby politicians and even sued Vermont to stop GMO labeling with the belief that GMO labels would scare consumers away and that a 50-state patchwork of rules would be confusing and costly.
Incidentally, as Common Dreams reported, in data revealed by OpenSecrets.org and the Organic Consumers Association, the senators who voted “yea” on last week’s 68-29 preliminary vote received more than twice as much in contributions from the agriculture lobby than those who voted “No” ($867,518 for the supporters vs. $350,877 for opponents).
Opponents of the bill have dubbed it another version of the “Deny Americans the Right to Know,” or DARK Act. The earlier DARK Act, which would block state labeling laws, failed in March. The New York Times editorial board also called the latest bill “flawed,” stating:
While most scientists say that genetically modified foods do not pose a risk to human health, consumers should have a right to more information about what they are eating. Polls have found that a vast majority of Americans favor mandatory labels. Dozens of countries, including all 28 members of the European Union and Australia, already require similar disclosures.
Researchers have found that labels do not dissuade people from consuming genetically engineered food, which has been a big worry of farm groups and businesses. It is no surprise then that some companies, like Campbell Soup, have voluntarily agreed to label their products.
The biggest problem with the Senate bill is that—instead of requiring a simple label, as the Vermont law does—it would allow food companies to put the information in electronic codes that consumers would have to scan with smartphones or at scanners installed by grocery stores. The only reason to do this would be to make the information less accessible to the public.
So where does that leave us? Well, the decision means that debate is now limited to 30 hours and can withstand filibuster. The final vote could happen sometime tonight or tomorrow and would only require a simple majority, or 51 votes. Efforts by Sen. Bernie Sanders to put a hold on the bill have been quashed since the cloture vote mustered more than 60 yeas.
If the legislation clears the Senate, it would go to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which has historically voted against transparency after passing Rep. Mike Pompeo’s bill (H.R. 1599) last year. It would then goes to President Obama’s desk, who could sign the bill into law.
If it seems that the bill probably stands a chance, there are still a number of obstacles. As Politco’s Morning Agriculture blog reported, Roberts did not exactly celebrate the cloture vote, adding, “Strange things can happen.” For instance, on Wednesday during the cloture vote, GMO labeling advocates from the Organic Consumers Association threw $2,000 in cash from the Senate balcony to the floor. They yelled “Monsanto Money” and “Sen. Stabenow, listen to the people, not Monsanto” as the bills fell, according to The Hill.
Yesterday’s vote also revealed that the bill has lost some steam since last week’s 68-29 procedural vote. According to Politico, “Maine Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) voted yes last week but opposed cloture, as did Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). Meanwhile, Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) voted for cloture after opposing the vote last week. The nays added Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who did not vote last week.”
Additionally, the Right-wing Heritage Foundation is also against the bill (basically, the foundation says even QR codes are too transparent) and have urged lawmakers to oppose the bill and warned it would key the vote as part of its legislative scorecard.
As for the House vote, even though the lower chamber already passed their own GMO bill, the Senate version is different enough that the House would have to vote on it again, as Grist noted.
The House has been urged by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives to take up and pass the bill before summer recess, which starts next Friday.
A spokeswoman for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway told Politico that Conaway “will await the outcome in the Senate before making any public statements regarding his position on what action he believes the House should or should not take. He’s still engaged in discussions with industry and other stakeholders on the matter.”
Detractors of the bill are speaking out against further advancement of the bill. Sanders tweeted Wednesday: “The Stabenow-Roberts GMO bill is confusing, misleading and unenforceable. It does nothing to make sure consumers know what they’re eating.”
Also, as Quartz puts it, the presidential candidate also “expertly trolled” the Senators who support the bill.
The QR Code is real by the way. If you don’t have a QR scanner, the code links to a statement on Sanders’s website defending his home state’s GMO labeling law.
A number of environmental and consumer advocate groups have spoken out against the bill and the Senate vote.
“Friends of the Earth denounces the Senate’s passage of the DARK Act, S. 764, a bill which was passed under the guise of GMO labeling,” food and technology campaigner Dana Perls said. “This bill is a travesty, an undemocratic and discriminatory bill which preempts state laws, while offering no meaningful labeling for GMOs. If accepted, Americans will remain in the dark about what we feed our families. We are deeply disappointed in the members of Congress who supported this bill and who did not stand with the vast majority of Americans who want mandatory on-package GMO labeling.
“Friends of the Earth urges consumers to call on the House and President Obama to oppose any bills that would undermine state GMO labeling laws, and to only support meaningful, mandatory on-package labeling for GMO foods, including those made with new gene editing techniques.”
Food & Water Watch California Director Adam Scow criticized Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s “vote against consumers and for Big Food.”
“[The legislation] rolls back the progress that people around the country have made to get clear, on package labeling for GMOs,” Scow said. “The bill she voted for will leave way too many Californians in the dark when it comes to knowing what’s in the food we eat and how it was produced.”
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said, “If this bill becomes law, the industry wins what are essentially voluntary requirements under this GMO labeling ‘compromise,’ which does not mandate recalls, penalties or fines for noncompliance with the incredibly weak requirements of the bill that will likely leave many GMO ingredients exempt from any labeling requirements.”
GMO Labeling Bill Passes Senate, Headed For House Vote
The U.S. Senate has approved a controversial bill which would create a federal standard for labeling foods that contain genetically engineered or modified ingredients.
By Derrick Broze | July 8, 2016
According to a recent poll, approximately 93% of all Americans support GMO labeling. (Photo: CT Senate Democrats/ cc/ Flickr)
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved the “Agriculture Biotechnology Solution” bill which will require foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled with words, pictures, or a QR code that must be scanned by a smartphone. The Senate voted 63 to 30 to approve the bill after a controversial cloture vote on Wednesday. The bill will now head to the House of Representatives for a vote. If approved in the House the bill would go on to President Obama to be signed into law.
“Food ingredients like beet sugar and soybean oil, which can be derived from genetically-engineered crops but contain next to no genetic material by the time they are processed, may not fall under the law’s definition of a bioengineered food, critics say,” Reuters reported.
Other critics of the bill say that GMO corn may also be excluded from the bill. This means that beet sugar, soy, and corn (the crops which are among the most genetically modified in the world) might not be covered under the current language of the bill.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised concerns about the involvement of the USDA in a list of worries sent in a June 27 memo to the Senate Agriculture Committee,” Reutersnoted.
Thursday’s vote came after a contentious vote on Wednesday which invoked cloture, a rule that prevents attempts to delay or filibuster a bill. The U.S. Senate voted 65 to 32 in favor of cloture, forcing an up-or-down vote to take place within 30 hours.
During the cloture vote members of the Organic Consumers Association protested the vote by throwing money from the Senate gallery onto the floor. The Hill reported that protesters yelled “Monsanto Money” and “Sen. Stabenow, listen to the people, not Monsanto” while $2,000 fell to the floor.
U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow previously called the bill “an important path forward that represents a true compromise. Since time is of the essence, we urge our colleagues to move swiftly to support this bill.” Roberts said if his colleagues do not act on the bill now Vermont’s law will causeconfusion in the marketplace. The bill would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture two years to write the labeling rules.
The bipartisan bill would immediately prohibit states and cities from passing labeling laws for genetically modified or engineered ingredients. Genetically modified or engineered seeds are engineered to have certain traits, such as resistance to herbicides. The majority of the United States’ corn and soybean crops are now GE, including a large portion that is used for animal feed.
The bill would also put the USDA in charge of establishing “a uniform national disclosure standard for human food that is or may be bioengineered.” Critics of a federal standard worry about the USDA being pressured by biotechnology companies that have a close relationship to U.S. regulatory agencies. The proposal would also require companies producing foods with GE ingredients to post a label, including text on package, a symbol, or a link to a website (QR code or similar technology). Smaller food manufacturers can use websites or telephone numbers to disclose ingredients.
In late February, Roberts introduced another bill which attempted to create a federal voluntary standard for labeling GE food. Roberts’ Senate Bill 2609, or the Biotech Labeling Solutions Act, would have blocked mandatory labeling efforts by states. In March, the bill failed to reach the 60 votes needed during a procedural vote, with 49 votes in favor and 48 votes against.
Roberts’ bill was similar to the controversial Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which passed the House in June 2015 but ultimately failed amid heavy opposition. To critics, the bill was known as the “DARK” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act because the law was also aimed at nullifying GMO labeling measures, such as the bill passed in Vermont.
The latest bipartisan effort contains language that is identical to both of the previous bills. The bill would “amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for bioengineered foods.” It’s safe to say that this new bipartisan compromise is simply the latest version of the DARK Act and will likely live up to its name by keeping Americans in the dark regarding what is in their food.
When it comes to food policy, more and more Americans are questioning the influence of biotechnology giants like Monsanto. Recently, Common Dreams reported, in data revealed by OpenSecrets.org and the Organic Consumers Association, that Senators who had voted on a procedural vote in favor of the bill received more than twice as much in contributions from the agriculture lobby than those who voted “No” ($867,518 for the supporters vs. $350,877 for opponents).
Make no mistake, your food supply is under attack. The American government is in bed with Monsanto and dozens of other corporations that help create policy. This bill will pass the House and President Obama will sign it into law. The law will keep Americans in the dark about what is in their food while telling the public that a federal system is the best way forward.
So what are the solutions? Build locally. Get involved with your community and begin growing your own food. As simple as it may sound it is the strongest and most accessible solution for the majority of people.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact Derrick@activistpost.com
This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.