Skip to main content

 photo Main_Vegetables-1024x716_zpsbc9121bb.jpgVermont is poised to become the first state to require GMO labeling on food. Photo by Malakwal City, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Talia Mindich, of PBS, brings us the good news that Vermont to become first state to mandate GMO labeling, for food made with genetically modified organisms, starting July 1, 2016, despite opposition from the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says he looks forward to signing it.  

“I am proud of Vermont for being the first state in the nation to ensure that Vermonters will know what is in their food,” Shumlin said in a statement Wednesday.

Health and environmental concerns prompted a decade-long effort that many Vermonters hope will sweep across the nation. But the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents farmers, seed companies and other food producers, has rebuked the measure, saying that GMOs reduce the amount of pesticide and water use on farms and help to feed a growing world population.

According to the World Health Organization, genetically modified foods are derived from organisms whose genetic material has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally. In America, some 90 percent of corn and soybeans are genetically modified.

Bracing for a legal counter-attack from the national Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Vermont legislature has put aside $1.5 million in a legal fund.  

Crop plants are often genetically modified so that their roots are more resistant to insects, germs, or herbicides. Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Biotechnology Industry Organization reassure consumers that there is "no material difference between food produced with genetic engineering and those without GMOs."

Many consumers and legislators in Vermont believe there is a lack of consensus in the scientific communities on the safety issues, no long-term epidemiological studies in the United States on their effects, and many other issues with regard to the impact of GMO, and concomitant great use of herbicides, genetic drift of patented GMO pollen contaminating nearby pure seed strains, and issues with regard to health of the soil.

The following Brattleboro Vermont Reformer editorial states that regardless of whatever conclusions scientists, farmers, and regulators may arrive at with regard to these controversies about GMOs, consumers have a right to know what's in their food so the Reformer supports this bill requiring such labeling winning kudos from advocacy and consumer groups from across the nation.  

The Brattleboro Reformer proudly proclaims that Vermont is in Our opinion: Leading the charge for GMO labeling.

The Reformer recounts quotes of a number of consumer advocates praising Vermont's GMO labeling law, such as Falko Schilling, a consumer advocate with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group says, "This is a huge victory for consumers everywhere," after his group collected 30,000 signitures in support of GMO labeling.

Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, issued a statement, "We urge the food industry to drop its legal war against consumers' right to know and instead begin listening to its consumers on this issue. We urge companies to offer not just the foods that are most convenient to grow or process, but the foods consumers really want, fully labeled."

The Reformer also anticipates a likely lawsuit against the the state law by the food and biotech industries spearheaded by the Washington D.D.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association which has said, "It sets the nation on a costly and misguided path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies that will do nothing to advance the safety of consumers." They complain that a patch work of 50 different states with different rules on packaging, "gets very costly, very confusing and very difficult for the entire food industry to comply with."

To which the Reformer's editors respond:

We might be sympathetic to that argument if not for the fact that the food and biotech industries are also fighting adequate labeling requirements on the federal level. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, for example, is a proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. Despite what the name implies, and what the giant agribusiness industry claims to advocate, it does not create a national, uniform labeling requirement.

In addition to denying states like Vermont the right to enact their own GMO labeling laws, the bill also would codify the existing, inadequate system of voluntary labeling and compel the FDA to define GMOs as natural.

The bottom line is, the industry does not want any type of GMO labels on the food products they make because they know how consumers would react. According to Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association who wrote an article for the Huffington Post, a seed executive for Monsanto admitted 20 years ago, "If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it."

Cummins says proof of this "skull and crossbones" effect is evident in the European Union, where mandatory labeling, in effect since 1997, has all but driven genetically engineered foods and crops off the market. And he says it's only a matter of time before that happens here in America. More and more states are likely to follow Vermont's lead. Cummins says America's largest food companies, apparently seeing the writing on the wall, already have quietly begun distancing themselves from Monsanto and the genetic engineering lobby.

The Reformer editorial ends on an upbeat note suggesting that General Mills, Post Foods, Chipoltle, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and many food companies are already making changes to eliminate GMOs from "some or all of their products," and several hundred companies have enrolled in the Non-GMO project so they can market their products as GMO-free.

In this case public opinion may trump the deep pockets of Monsanto and the biotech firms - but only if we get truth in labeling. Did you catch that key paragraph in the Reformer's editorial about what the Grocery Manufacturer Association lobby is trying to do in the national food labeling law? Let me repeat it so we fully appreciate what we are up against.

In addition to denying states like Vermont the right to enact their own GMO labeling laws, the bill also would codify the existing, inadequate system of voluntary labeling and compel the FDA to define GMOs as natural.
So, how this works folks, First the GMA fights the state labeling efforts in state legislatures with the valid argument that a patchwork of 50 state laws makes their job more challenging. But, then they do not act in good faith by inserting the words "voluntary" into the bill making it toothless, plus as an extra safety redefine "natural" to include "GMO" modified food. Which technically, is true. It's also "organic."

At some point the leadership of some major consumer product companies is going to learn that developing a reputation of integrity, ethics, and trust with their customers will be their most valuable asset. Until then, I'm in favor of every state following Vermont's lead. I probably eat GMO crops everyday, and probably will continue to do so, but I prefer to know about it, and I object to companies trying to suppress our knowledge of what's going on.

Last time I went shopping in the produce section was sort of like a trip to the twilight zone. Strawberries the size of golf balls, so tasty they could be a main course. Green grapes nearly half that big, every one perfect on gigantic clusters, every one so crisp and juicy, it exploded in my mouth with a burst of juicy flavor. Stalks of celery nearly one and half foot long.

Oranges, all bright orange the size of small grapefruits. A gigantic stand of bananas all perfectly yellow. I read an article a few years back about the "evolution" of the modern banana over the last 100 years which suggested if modern customers were presented with some of the varieties of what was often presented as bananas 100 years ago we might barely recognize the taste and texture.

For a moment, I thought maybe I had drifted off to sleep during the Alice in Wonderland sequence of the Blue Man Group.  So I've long suspected funny things are going on with our food supply. We should know what they are so we can keep ourselves sufficiently educated that we can make intelligent choices both in the supermarket, and in the ballot boxes, and have some subjective impression, whether it is true or not, that we still understand the world around us and have some control over it.  

Poll

Do you support the Vermont GMO labeling law?

75%21 votes
25%7 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 28 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I find it likely that this law will be overturned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, aimeehs

    by the courts as unconsitutional. I find it unlikely that the State can compel a business to label something without any specific, compelling public interest.

    Vermont tried this with Rbst in milk and lost as well.

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 07:42:58 AM PDT

    •  Well, that will be sad. (5+ / 0-)

      Isn't providing their consumers information a compelling interest?

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 07:53:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you get to decide what information (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Armando, aimeehs, OrganicChemist

        The state compels a company to publish? What's the benchmark? Safety? Nutrition? Political leanings of the company? Number of employees?

        Considering that GMO products are no less or more safe than other products, I envision that the courts will see the State as imposing a specific viewpoint as mandatory - i.e. the viewpoint of people that don't like GMO's. Which fails a neutral viewpoint standard.

        Look, I tried to be reasonable...

        by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:01:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  States get to decide. (3+ / 0-)

          "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

          by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:02:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You'd be ok for Kansas decided to compel (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog

            companies whose owners are Democrats or who donated to Democratic candidates were required to label their products as "Proceeds of this product support abortion"?

            After all, Kansas is majority Republican state. The local government is just looking out for the consumers interest and to make sure they don't accidentally support something they find morally repugnant.

            Look, I tried to be reasonable...

            by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:07:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Kansas already regulates the textbooks. I don't (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              campionrules, RiveroftheWest, a2nite

              think they could do it based on the beliefs of the owner of the business on the content of the product. All Democrats do not support abortion.

              If the product contained a chemical that might cause an abortion yes, the state would have the right to require a  label to stating that.

              Hey campionrules. I want to continue out discussion but I have to take about a 30 minute break because my S.O. is about to have a fit if I don't take the garbage to the dump.

              I'll be back.  Thanks for you comments. I'm not ignoring them.

              "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

              by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:14:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No problem (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HoundDog, Armando, aimeehs

                I think it's the issue of what is a 'state interest'.  Voluntary labeling doesn't run into any problems because the State is not making a statement to whether or not GMOs are 'bad' or 'good'.

                Mandatory labeling seems to imply that the State is making a determination that if a product contains GMO then the consumer should know about it. Much like nutritional information, the consumer should then ask: Why does the State want me to know that there's GMOs in this product?

                Will eating GMO's affect me in some way?

                In short, without any way for the State to answer that above question positively or negatively, all we get is a confused consumer and a damaged company.

                If you are going to mandate a label, the answer to the question why? - from the State's perspective - can not be: "Well, some people don't like them."

                Which leads me back to the Kansas analogy. Perhaps a better analogy would be a label that indicates that these "products are made by Democrats". While a true statement, it would be effectively a chilling use of speech by the Government and could negatively impact that company because of the conservative and Republican nature of the state's population.

                The Kansas government can't use the defense of, "Well, we just wanted consumers to be informed."

                Look, I tried to be reasonable...

                by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:23:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If there was some product that caused people (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  allie4fairness

                  to become Democrats by eating it, and the good people of Kansas wanted to require that product to have a label I would understand that.

                  Let's say like eating cheese and drinking red wine. Or eating arugula salad.

                  I would also note, that the people of VT need to be aware that they may be raising their food prices if Kraft Macaroni as to make a special version of their product saying if it does or does not contain GMOs.

                  "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

                  by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:34:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  This is like organically grown food. I am more (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BMScott

                  worried about the impact of GMO food on the environment, but everyone should be allowed a choice.  I would eat most GMO food myself, but I know how genetic modifications are made.  

                  Food companies could support science education so health concerns about GMO food would not worry consumers.

        •  "GMO products are no less or more safe" (6+ / 0-)

          The point is that we should get to decide the truth of the statement for ourselves.

          Simply labeling the product as being a GMO gives us that ability. It is no one else's right to hide that from us and/or tell us we shouldn't or mustn't consider that when making the purchase.

          Trust, but verify. - Reagan
          Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

          When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

          by Words In Action on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:07:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure thing. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, aimeehs

            But you can't have the state forcing companies to label things.

            Here's another example: Quite a few foods have latent, very low background radiation, specifically bananas.

            Would the State of California be right in mandating a bill that required all foods that are radioactive to be noted as such?

            Even though the radiation of a bananas is far below any type of danger level.

            Would people buy foods that were label radioactive? I mean, it's true(just like GMO foods contain genetically modified genes) so why shouldn't the people know?

            Look, I tried to be reasonable...

            by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:13:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  California already does that (4+ / 0-)

              with potential carcinogens. The world still turns and Monsanto is still in business. Calm down!

              "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

              by Crider on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:51:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Carcinogens = health risk = public interest (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HoundDog, Armando

                GMOs = ??(No verified health risk through 4 decades) =  not a compelling public interest. The argument can be made, and should be made that, that GMO label is of a public interest.

                But that can be accomplished through informed consumers and voluntary labeling - not getting the government involved.

                This is not a Monsanto issue - which as a company has many unredeeming qualities - but rather an issue of constitutional speech and the State's ability to act neutrally in the matters of the public interest.

                Look, I tried to be reasonable...

                by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:56:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It'a all about Monsanto (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  a2nite, flowerfarmer

                  And the reason it's about Monsanto is the ability of their GMO products to sell for the same price as non-GMO products.

                  If the blinders were removed from the public's eyes, they would choose non-GMOs in the grocery store over GMOs at the same price. Supply and demand, you know.

                  Monsanto depends on labeling censorship to keep the selling price of GMO foods on par with non-GMO foods.

                  The FlavrSavr tomato was a huge flop because it was not only labeled GMO, it was touted as being GMO! And it wasn't even full of RoundUp herbicide. Monsanto learned the lesson and that's why they (and you) continue to fight truth-in-labeling.

                  "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

                  by Crider on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:49:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, I see what you meant by public interest. (5+ / 0-)

                  What about GMO = public anxiety - public interest

                  What about regulation governing labeling products as Kosher?

                  Or Made in Vermont as in Vermont Cheese. Or Authentic Vermont Maple Syrup?

                  Don't states have the right to decide what is in the public interest of their citizens?

                  Another chain of logic we saw recently in the article by Ellen Moyer who wrote about preserving the Monarch butterflies.

                  Monarchs can only nest on milkweed plants which are being killed off. A leading theory is because of the widespread use of BtCorn (Monsanto GMO herbicide resistant, rootworm resistant  corn) farmers can spray very high concentrations of herbicide from crop dusters. The wind blows these onto Milkweed which die, or let imagine a group of people in Vermont who have formed a religion which worships Monarch butterflies believes the Monarchs are being poisoned by flying across these fields with high herbicide concentrations along with bees, thereby jeopardizing mankind so their highest expression of their religious beliefs is to boycott GMO products.

                  And, they are able to get 37,000 signatures, as per local democracy, and get both houses of their state congress and their governor to pass a law demanding such labels be put on their food so they can make this choice, should we tell them they can not?

                  BTW, I do not know why they do not simultaneously encourage a voluntary labeling organization that has certifies a food product is GMO free, as is done with Kosher foods. And, then all of these people can simple boycott all food that does not contain such a label. I suspect that is one the way. I think the article mentioned that. i just got back from the dump, so my memory is trashed.  

                  "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

                  by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:52:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You may have more of an argument (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Armando, HoundDog

                    when it comes to regional protective labeling - i.e. Made in Vermont, or product of the Champaign region.

                    And States do get to decide what's a compelling interest of its citizens - up to a point. And that point is where the law may run afoul of U.S. Constitional understandings of speech.

                    I know, I know more corporate speech - but the point still stands that States have to be very careful about what they are compelling, and whether or not it can be seen as compelling one opinion over another.

                    As opposed to a general, universally recognized standard of public interest - like public health.

                    My main thrust I guess would be that GMO's don't rise to the generally accepted standards of what State's can compel or mandate as a public interest. If they were to get there - through scientific evidence, or worse, tragedy - then it would be a different story.

                    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

                    by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 10:14:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I do appreciate the comprehensiveness of the diary (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Armando, BMScott, HoundDog

                      I don't necessary agree, but I'm always glad to see all the information out there. Tipped and recced for that.

                      Look, I tried to be reasonable...

                      by campionrules on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 10:16:13 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thanks campionrules. I tried to report both sides (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        RiveroftheWest

                        of the issues including the Grocery Manufacturing associations  position also stating that the FDA has stated they see nothing wrong with GMO.

                        I appreciate you comments a great deal, and civil debate which I learned a great deal from. As you can see, I enjoy debate things just for the pleasure of it.

                        If you had written in supporting the law I might have tried you line of thinking if I had thought of it, which I have to admit I didn't, but you did raise excellent points that have me thinking.

                        As an after thought, I'm surprised you didn't make more of the Interstate Commerce clause superceding state's rights to restrict trade.

                        What surprised the heck out of me, is that this Intestate Commerce law is the basis for the nations federal drugs laws?

                        The reason the federal government can declare marijuana illegal is that they've contorted the argument that they are regulating trade. Technically, one is required to have a federal license to sell marijuana or other illegal drugs. The reason they are illegal is that one is selling them without a license, which of course, the federal government will not issue to anyone, except the one research institute which grows all that is used for the very limited research.

                        So I suspect the GMA will challenge on this basis and might win.

                        Thanks for educating me on this aspect of the law.

                        I wish more people followed your generous philosophy of recommending well done post whether they agree with them or not. Even I don't agree with all my posts but I always try my best to make them the highest quality under the circumstances.

                        But, after doing many that have taken hours and received 7 or so recs, I'm intentionally trying to cut back on "excess quality."

                        Your comments alone make me glad I didn't triage or punt on this one, which as you can see I spent a lot of time rewriting paragraph beyond 3 fair use paragraphs. A lot of folks do the 5 or 10 minutes slap and claps (slapping in 3 paragraphs and clapping, "hey everyone look at this.)

                        I could probably do 50 to 60 of those in a day and might one day just for the "fun of it." Of course, the community backlash would be withering, but ... well whatever.

                        Thanks a bunch.  

                        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

                        by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:50:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Let people decide. (3+ / 0-)

                Trust, but verify. - Reagan
                Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

                When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

                by Words In Action on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:07:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Certain states like California require fertilizer (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              companies to label certain chemicals it has been deemed to be carcinogenic.

              My understanding is California was also the first major state to have requirements for textbooks, and because it is such a large state, in the 1950 or 1960 most educational publishers voluntarily adopted California requirements nationally so they wouldn't have to have multiple versions for multiple markets.

              I believe the Constitution leaves all powers not specifically assigned to the federal government to the state.

              While the federal government can regulate interstate commerce I'm not exactly sure how this labeling issues plays out in this regard.

              "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

              by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:40:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            allie4fairness, RiveroftheWest

            I wouldn't even mind if the Grocery Manufacturing Association wants to put an extra label on products with a small essay and link to a website suggesting GMO are perfectly safe in the opinions of a whole bunch of people.

            Truth in label, and protecting the right of consumer choice are the important issues, I think.

            "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

            by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:17:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  People don't decide truth. Reality does. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, aimeehs

            Believing genetic modification is harmful doesn't make it true. Food companies are fighting mandatory labeling because of the scaremongering over GMO foods that has never had any evidence. People wouldn't buy it because of they boogeyman, not legitimate health concerns.

            They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

            by Ponder Stibbons on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:04:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But don't people have a right to buy things for (3+ / 0-)

              whatever reason they want? Controversy still exists over what is the best proportions of saturated fats, unsaturated fats, salt, protein etc. food producers are still required to put these labels on.

              Upon meeting the requirements some products are allowed to market themselves as Kosher, Made in Vermont, Champaigne, Non-Farmed Salmon.

              Truth in labeling merely means the labels are accurate so the consumers can make up their minds, not that the consumer are smart.

              "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

              by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:57:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  California has had extra environmental regulations (5+ / 0-)

          on automobiles at various times, and states sometimes prohibit certain products or activities at their discretion.

          You've seen those disclaimers (This offer void in Maryland.)

          "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

          by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:09:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  States already determine what goes on local labels (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allie4fairness, RiveroftheWest

          For example, all bottles in MA, NH, and VT have a 5 cent deposit stamp valid only in these states. Bottles for sale in other states have different amounts and different stamps and are not redeemable in states not stamped.

          Also, my understanding is that many states, perhaps all, have their own state alcohol tax. PA for example. Massachusetts law enforcement regularly stakes out stores selling alcohol on the New Hampshire border to arrest Massachusetts residents trying to evade Massachusetts taxes by bringing a New Hampshire alcohol bottle without a Massachusetts label on it.

          So I know states must have the right to enforce their own labeling requirements.

          "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

          by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:30:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There's already a good precident in VT (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          campionrules, RiveroftheWest

          of arbitrary laws on food products being overturned in the courts.  For example the 1994 law mandating milk containing  rBST be labeled in VT.  

          Vermont had cited no evidence that milk from rBST-treated cows posed any risk to public health, and it did not claim that health or safety concerns motivated adoption of the labeling requirement. Rather, Vermont adopted the standard due to “strong consumer interest and the public’s ‘right to know.’” But this, the Court held, was insufficient, and so the labeling requirement was overturned.
          The article is a couple of years old, it follows the California prop before the 2012 election and GM salmon (which was not approved).

          I just thought it was an added and interesting tidbit on the whole debate.

    •  No compelling interest? (7+ / 0-)

      Tell that to people who specifically purchase organic. Tell that to Europe.

      The consumer has EVERY right to require the product information they need to make a decision, especially when it involves stuff they ingest.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:09:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have trouble seeing the constitutional issue. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, flowerfarmer

      Do manufacturers have a constitutional right to include undisclosed ingredients in food products?  Which part of the Constitution is that?

    •  I posted a similar response below (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      before I read your reply, my apologies.

  •  Our food chain is so crazy... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob

    Right now Americans in the Puget Sound, tip of Florida, deserts of Arizona, and pasture lands of the Midwest have essentially the same diet and eat identical foods.  This was obviously not the case 500 years ago, probably not even the case 100 years ago.

    How is that sustainable or even efficient?  Not to mention it has made us more vulnerable than most realize.   Drought in California, blizzard in South Dakota, pasture land being turned into corn for ethanol production, has had an effect on beef prices, and this isn't even talking about outside of America forces like a Brazilian drought.

    In the process of industrializing the food markets we've encouraged:

    Monoculture Farming - Increased pressure on local species like bees.
    Inhumane treatment of animals and employees
    Destruction of sensitive environments - Increased desertification, removal of forests, removal of wet and grass lands.
    Intensive Chemical Applications (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, etc)
    GMO's
    Transporting food large distances from its origination - Leading to more traffic congestion, crappier roads (due to increased usage), more CO2 in the atmosphere, higher demand for fuel leading to higher fuel prices, higher use of refrigerants in freezer trucks, all these costs get passed onto the consumer.
    Health Impacts - Like growing higher output veggies compared to healthier veggies.  Or you know health impacts due to the chemicals we are now ingesting, or the food semi truck exhaust we breath.  Or antibiotic resistant super bugs, due to the antibiotic use in food production.

    All this has made us and the environment, very vulnerable.  Assuming the population will continue growing, climate change continues (droughts, floods, frosts in unexpected places like Florida) growing patterns will be disrupted.  War will be increased to have access to fertile lands and waters.  Immigration will increase as people try to flee places as they become inhabitable.  Disease and sickness will increase as less food is available, the food that is available isn't as nourishing, super bugs increase due to overuse of antibiotics.

    I'm depressed typing all that, but glad I'll be long dead before that comes to America.  Sucks for those in the third world like Africa that have to experience it now, and will suck for our future generations that have to experience it here.

    To play devils advocate, I guess I get to pay less for food now (but will pay more for healthcare, due to it later, BUT  lets not pretend I know that), I get to support economies hundreds/thousands of miles away from my community, I get to enrich some guy in big-agri, and I get food that taste identical if I was to eat it here in Missouri or east in Maine (not that our processed food has much of a taste anyway).  This paragraph, if you made it this far, was all snark :P

  •  Smells like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimeehs, a2nite

    the anti-vaccination movement.

  •  I don't fear GMOs, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    If a good many people do, then labeling is the correct policy.

    I don't keep Kosher, being a protestant, but some people do, and those people deserve accurate labels.

  •  Avoid 50 different standards. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    It would be easy to avoid 50 different standards for labels. Establish national standards.

    Until the grocers' lobby advocates that, then crying about different standards in different states is the height of hypocrisy.

  •  I am the owner of a very small organic farm. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flowerfarmer

    The two main issues I have with GMOs are:

    (1) the corporations' unwillingness to let customers decide for themselves whether they want to consume GMOs. The corporations who fight tooth and nail to prevent consumers from knowing what's actually in the food they buy hardly build public confidence in those products;

    (2) the contamination of non-GMO or "organic" fields and orchards by unintentionally or purposely spreading GMOs into farms that don't want them, thus destroying those farmers' ability to produce organic crops for market.

    Voters deserve the right to make their own decisions at the ballot box without being swamped, as has happened repeatedly, with millions of dollars’ worth of advertising by huge chemical companies.  Corporate profits shouldn’t trump the peoples' right to know if they're consuming GMOs, or what the GMOs' long-term effects on human health and the environment really are.

  •  GM Foods are directly linked to cancer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    All this blathering about there being no links between GM foods, GM seeds, and their companion pesticides/herbicides/fungicides destroying soil health and human health smells-- no stinks-- of a misinformation campaign:

    http://abundantharvestapiary.com/...

    Professor Joe Cummins, professor emeritus of genetics at the University of Western Ontario, is one of the foremost scientists active in the campaign to protect the safety of crops, foods, human health, and the environment. Prior to joining Western in 1972, he taught genetics at Rutgers University and the University of Washington (Seattle) and since 1968 has been involved in a range of environmental issues related to mercury, asbestos, PCBs, pesticides, toxic waste, and genetic engineering. Prof. Cummins is the author of more than 200 scientific and popular articles and has published recently in Nature Biotechnology, The Ecologist, and Biotechnology and Development Review. He lives in London, Ontario, Canada.

    -----

    and here's just one of many other studies to keep you busy for a while:

    Study Links Monsanto's Roundup to Cancer

    A study by eminent oncologists Dr. Lennart Hardell and Dr. Mikael
    Eriksson of Sweden [1], has revealed clear links between one of the
    world's biggest selling herbicide, glyphosate, to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form
    of cancer [2].

    In the study published in the 15 March 1999 Journal of American Cancer
    Society, the researchers also maintain that exposure to glyphosate
    'yielded increased risks for NHL.' They stress that with the rapidly increasing use
    of glyphosate since the time the study was carried out, 'glyphosate
    deserves further epidemiologic studies.'

    Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is the world's most widely used
    herbicide. It is estimated that for 1998, over a 112,000 tonnes of
    glyphosate was used world-wide. It indiscriminately kills off a wide
    variety of weeds after application and is primarily used to control annual
    and perennial plants.

    71% of genetically engineered crops planted in 1998 are designed to be
    resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate, marketed by Monsanto as
    Roundup. Companies developing herbicide resistant crops are also
    increasing
    their production capacity for the herbicides such as glyphosate, and also
    requesting permits for higher residues of these chemicals in genetically
    engineered food. For example, Monsanto have already received permits for a
    threefold increase in herbicide residues on genetically engineered
    soybeans
    in Europe and the U.S., up from 6 parts per million (PPM) to 20 PPM.

    According to Sadhbh O' Neill of Genetic Concern, 'this study reinforces
    concerns by environmentalists and health professionals that far from
    reducing herbicide use, glyphosate resistant crops may result in increased
    residues to which we as consumers will be exposed in our food.'

    'Increased residues of glyphosate and its metabolites are already on sale
    via genetically engineered soya, common in processed foods. However no
    studies of the effects of GE soya sprayed with Roundup on health have been
    carried out either on animals or humans to date,' she continued.

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics from 1997
    show that expanded plantings of Roundup Ready soybeans (i.e. soybeans
    genetically engineered to be tolerant to the herbicide) resulted in a 72%
    increase in the use of glyphosate. According to the Pesticides Action
    Network, scientists estimate that plants genetically engineered to be
    herbicide resistant will actually triple the amount of herbicides used.
    Farmers, knowing that their crop can tolerate or resist being killed off
    by
    the herbicides, will tend to use them more liberally.

    O' Neill concluded: 'The EPA when authorising Monsanto's field trials for
    Roundup-ready sugar beet did not consider the issue of glyphosate. They
    considered this to be the remit of the Pesticides Control Service of the
    Department of Agriculture. Thus nobody has included the effects of
    increasing the use of glyphosate in the risk/benefit analysis carried out.
    It is yet another example of how regulatory authorities supposedly
    protecting public health have failed to implement the 'precautionary
    principle' with respect to GMOs.'

    ENDS

    Further information: Sadhbh O' Neill at 01-4760360 or 087-2258599 or
    (home) 01-6774052
    Notes

    [1] Lennart Hardell, M.D., PhD. Department of Oncology, Orebro Medical
    Centre, Orebro, Sweden and Miikael Eriksson, M.D., PhD, Department of
    Oncology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden, 'A Case-Control Study of
    Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides', Cancer, March 15, 1999/
    Volume 85/ Number 6.

    The findings are based on a population-based case-control study conducted
    in Sweden between 1987 - 1990. The necessary data was ascertained by a
    series of comprehensive questionnaires and follow-up telephone interviews.
    Dr. Hardell and Dr. Eriksson found that 'exposure to herbicides and
    fungicides resulted in significantly increased risks for NHL'.

    [2] Lymphoma is a form of cancer that afflicts the lymphatic system. It
    can occur at virtually any part of the body but the initial symptoms are
    usually seen as swellings around the lymph nodes at the base of the neck.
    There are basically two main kinds of lymphoma, i.e. Hodgkin's disease and
    non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

    The incidence of NHL has increased rapidly in most Western countries over
    the last few decades. According to the American Cancer Society, there has
    been an alarming 80% increase in incidences of NHL since the early 1970's.
    -----
    and that study was from 1999... the situation has become much worse since then as far as persistent pesticides in GM crops. Glycosphate has been found in alarming rates in breast milk, and may be linked to male infertility.

    The same neurotoxic, systemic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides that are killing honeybees are in our food. They cannot be washed off. Systemic neurotoxins persist by design.

    Check out my short (3:42) videoVisit our campaign for more information:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-restore-honeybee-populations/x/6245128#home on the subject:

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site