Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) policy director Anna Boroff recently spent time in Washington D.C. urging lawmakers to pass a uniform, national labeling standard for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
In a bi-partisan vote, the U.S. House passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act by a wide margin in July. The legislation would ensure that consumers have access to the same science-based information regardless of which state they shop in instead of different state labeling mandates. It would also create a national GMO-free certification program that would provide consumers who prefer GMO-free foods a consistent means of identifying those products.
The Senate has yet to take up the legislation, which is a big deal because Vermont recently passed a state labeling mandate that’s set to go into effect in July. If Vermont has its own standard for labeling that isn’t consistent with the rest of the country, it’s going to create confusion for consumers, farmers, food companies, and, quite honestly, anyone who eats.
If other states in addition to Vermont pass their own, separate labeling standards, the confusion will only grow. Even though the scientific consensus overwhelmingly proves that GMOs are safe for human consumption, MCGA is not against voluntary labeling. However, the labeling standard needs to be uniform and federal instead of a patchwork state-by-state standard with varying requirements.
“With farming such a vital piece of Minnesota’s economy, I was excited by the opportunity to discuss why a uniform, national food labeling standard makes sense for Minnesota farmers,” Boroff said. “There is enough unpredictability involved in farming, we certainly don’t need more. Unfortunately, if Congress doesn’t act soon, that’s exactly what will happen. It’s time for the Senate to pass reasonable legislation that gives farmers and consumers a consistent, transparent labeling standard.”
Boroff and MCGA board member Brian Thalmann recently appeared on a KSTP News segment to discuss the GMO labeling issue. You can view the segment below.
The Washington D.C. fly-in was coordinated by the Coalition for Safe & Affordable Food. You can learn more about that organization here. Slate magazine also has recently written about the issues of GMOs and their safety for human consumption. You can read that story here.