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Oregon senator introduces national GMO-labeling law, urges FDA to work with food companies to uniformly label GMOs

GMO labeling

(NaturalNews) Consumer demand for clean, healthy, and non-GMO foods has gained unstoppable momentum, causing a major blow to the agrichemical industry, which relies heavily on genetically altered crops and millions of tons of toxic pesticides.

Though seed giants like Monsanto and DuPont, as well Big Food companies including Coca-Cola, Kellogg's and General Mills, have collectively spent tens of millions of dollars fighting GMO-labeling laws, their efforts fell short when the Senate blocked H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015.

Coined the Dark Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) by its opponents, the legislation would have prevented individual states from passing GMO-labeling laws, as well as reversing any that are currently in effect.

Finally, a nationwide law to label GMOs!

But the Senate did the right thing and listened to the American people, who overwhelmingly support the labeling of foods and ingredients that are genetically modified. The DARK Act needed to receive 60 votes in order to pass, but it fell short with 49 "yes" votes and 48 "no" votes.

Now, a new GMO-labeling bill has been proposed, one that favors public health and consumers rather than the food, agriculture and chemical industry.

The Biotechnology Food Labeling Uniformity Act (S. 2621), introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on March 2, 2016, would devise a national standard for GMO-labeling and give food companies several options for listing the presence of genetically altered ingredients on a product's Nutrition Facts Panel.

It would also encourage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to work with food manufacturers to develop a national symbol disclosing whether or not a food product contains genetically modified ingredients, according to Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.

"This is what real disclosure looks like. This bill finds a way to set a national standard and avoid a patchwork of state labeling laws while still giving consumers the information they want and deserve about what's in their food," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union.

Appealing to both parties

"This compromise offers food companies different labeling options and ensures that all consumers – no matter where they are in the country or whether they own a smartphone – have the information they overwhelmingly say they want. We urge Senators to support this proposal as they move forward on GMO labeling legislation."

S. 2621 would replace any existing state labeling laws with a uniform policy that applies nationally for labeling GMOs. The Biotech Food Labeling Uniformity Act is co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

"Sen. Merkley has offered a path forward on GMO labeling that gives consumers what they want while also providing flexibility to the food industry. The Merkley bill is the kind of common-sense solution consumers have been waiting for," said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group.

"Even members of the Senate Agriculture Committee who voted this week for the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK, Act acknowledged that it was flawed and would need to be revised to pass the Senate. Sen. Merkley's approach is an alternative that works for both consumers and food companies and, unlike the DARK Act, could pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Obama."

It is important that foods containing GMOs be accurately labeled, since there is a lack of science supporting the long-term safety of consuming crops with genetically altered DNA.

While we do not fully understand the implications of this, GMOs are suspected to cause internal toxicity, allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, immuno-suppression, cancer and loss of nutrition, according to the Center for Food Safety.

To learn more about the importance of knowing what might be lurking in your food, click here.








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