Farm Bureau urges legislators to oppose GMO labeling
Published 4:14 pm Thursday, January 7, 2016
Any legislation to identify foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) belongs in Washington, not Richmond, say Farm Bureau members across Virginia.
“GMOs have been used in our food supply since 1996 and have been proven safe and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” said Lindsay Reames, assistant director of governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “But in recent years several groups opposed to GMO use in our food supply have been trying to persuade state legislatures to require all foods containing GMOs to be labelled.”
Farm Bureau will urge state legislators to oppose GMO labeling bills in the coming General Assembly session.
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Currently only Vermont is set to require GMO labels on foods sold in that state. That law will go into effect in July 2016 if it survives a legal challenge from the food industry. Maine and Connecticut have passed similar laws, but those are not set to take effect unless neighboring states pass similar legislation.
“There would be no added benefit to these labels and no scientific reason for requiring them. They would simply work to disrupt the marketplace and confuse consumers,” Reames said. “When you consider that virtually all corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. come from GMO seeds, and how prevalent those crops are in our food supply, the challenge of traceability and labeling for each state is overwhelming.
“A state-by-state approach to labeling would strike at the core of our national food system.”
Allowing states to set GMO labels individually has been promoted as a consumer rights issue, but Reames said allowing a couple of states to mandate GMO labels is the wrong approach.
“We would encourage consumers to do some research on GMOs and learn what their advantages are,” Reames added. “Two websites to visit are gmoanswers.com andfooddialogues.com.
“Any effort to mandate GMO labels will inevitably lead to fear-based marketing of some food products. Some opponents of GMOs are producing foods without them and hoping to capitalize on that.”