How the Farm Bill could undermine the future of GMO labeling by individual states
The Republicrats in the U.S. Congress have once again betrayed their constituents by voting down an amendment to the upcoming Farm Bill that would have openly recognized the right of individual states to choose whether or not to label genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). And even though the federal government does not actually have the power to regulate the labeling decisions of individual states, the failure of Senate Amendment 965 to garner enough support could end up undermining future GMO labeling initiatives.
As reported by Katherine Paul over at OrganicConsumers.org, the Senate on May 23 voted down S.AMDT.965, also known as the Sanders Amendment, in a vote of 27-71, effectively killing what would have been recognition at the federal level that individual states already have the right to mandate the proper labeling of foods, beverages, and other edible products that contain GMOs. Each individual state already has the right under the U.S. Constitution to label GMOs if they so choose, regardless of the amendment’s passage, but S.AMDT.965 would have expressly acknowledged this to avoid confusion.
But with typical food industry pandering, a majority of state Senators rejected the amendment, which leaves the future of GMO food labeling hanging in the balance. States still have the right to pass GMO labeling laws in accordance with the Constitution, of course. But the rejection of S.AMDT.965 creates the illusion that this is somehow not the case, as language in the amendment presupposes that states need some kind of magical “permit” from the federal government in order to pass GMO labeling legislation, a permit that will now not be granted.
Federal government has no legal authority to block states from passing GMO labeling legislation
No such permit exists, however. In fact, the federal government has absolutely no jurisdiction over individual states as it pertains to GMO labeling, as the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expressly reserves all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government to the individual states and the people. In other words, the federal government itself does not have the necessary “permit” to offer any input into the matter whatsoever – the individual states are free to decide for themselves how to handle the GMO labeling issue without federal government interference.
“The 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution firmly establishes states’ rights and many states represented by members of the House Agriculture Committee use their state sovereignty to enact laws that protect their citizens from invasive pests, livestock diseases, maintain quality standards for dairy products, ensure food safety and unadulterated seed products,” said Representative Jeff Denham (R-Ca.) recently in regards to the so-called “King Amendment,” an ominous Farm Bill rider that specifically seeks to strip individual states of their ability to regulate food and other consumer goods.
“The biotech industry knows that it’s only a matter of time before Washington State, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and other states pass GMO labeling laws,” adds Ronnie Cummins, National Director for the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). “Rather than fight this battle in every state, Monsanto is trying to manipulate Congress to pass a Farm Bill that will wipe out citizens’ rights to state laws intended to protect their health and safety.”
You can view a list of the Congressional traitors that voted against S.AMDT.965 here:
You can also continue to contact your Congressional representatives and urge them to reject both amendments and riders to the Farm Bill that destroy sovereignty and food freedom, and urge support for those that strengthen food freedom and environmental protections. FoodConsumer.org has a helpful list of talking points you can use when contacting your Congressmen:
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