[Environment] LABELS AND LABELING : FOOD : GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOS) : LAWS: LEGISLATION : POLITICS: President Signs Law That Overturns Vermont GMO Labeling Rules, Replaces Them With Barcodes

 

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LABELS AND LABELING :

FOOD :

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOS) :

LAWS: LEGISLATION :

POLITICS:

President Signs Law That Overturns Vermont GMO Labeling Rules, Replaces Them With Barcodes

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President Signs Law That Overturns Vermont GMO Labeling Rules,
Replaces Them With Barcodes

July 29, 2016

By Chris Morran

Consumerist

https://consumerist.com/2016/07/29/president-signs-law-that-
outlaws-vermont-gmo-labeling-rules-replaces-them-with-barcodes/

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/z4myv7w

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Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fast-tracked a controversial piece of legislation aimed at overturning and preempting state laws for labeling foods made with genetically modified ingredients. The Senate passed the bill without going through committee or debate, and then the House okayed it without changing a word. Now comes confirmation from the White House that President Obama has signed the legislation into law.

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The law, S. 764 (read below for the bizarre history of this particular shell of a bill), doesnt just overturn existing state labeling laws in Vermont and elsewhere  even though companies like Campbell Soup, Mars Inc., PepsiCo, Nestl and General Mills have already started labeling their products nationwide. It also directs the Secretary of Agriculture to eventually  at some point in two to three years  come up with a national labeling standard.

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However, that standard could be incredibly weak and provide virtually no information to consumers, argue opponents of the law.

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Food producers would not actually need to disclose GE ingredients on their packaging. Instead, they would be allowed to simply print a website address where customers could get more information. The least transparent option involves the use of barcodes that must be scanned to take the shopper to that website.

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The FDA warned the authors of this bill  a pair of senators who have received more than $2.1 million from agribusiness donors for this election cycle alone  that text of the bill seemed to open up several loopholes, allowing for certain ingredients to avoid the GMO label.

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For example, the law says food products receiving these labels must contain genetic material. By the FDAs reckoning, that would seem to exempt products like oils, starches, and purified proteins even if they were sourced from GE crops.

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The law also says that an item is only to be labeled as genetically modified if the modification could not have occurred through conventional breeding. The FDA raised concerns that the lack of specificity in the language could open this term up to an overly generous reading.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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