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Intro: "In 49 countries around the world, including all of Europe, people have the opportunity of knowing whether or not they are eating food which contains genetically engineered ingredients. In the United States, we don't."

Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer have introduced an amendment to the agriculture bill which will give states the right to require labels on food products which are genetically engineered. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer have introduced an amendment to the agriculture bill which will give states the right to require labels on food products which are genetically engineered. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Label Genetically Engineered Food

By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

20 June 12

n 49 countries around the world, including all of Europe, people have the opportunity of knowing whether or not they are eating food which contains genetically engineered ingredients. In the United States, we don't. That is why I have introduced, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer, an amendment to the agriculture bill which will give states the right to require labels on food products which are genetically engineered.

All over this country people are becoming more conscious about the foods they eat and serve their kids. When a mother goes to the store and purchases food for her child, she has the right to know what she is feeding her family.

Poll after poll during the past decade showed that nine out of 10 Americans agree that food with genetically engineered ingredients should say so on the label.

Almost 1 million Californians signed a petition to get labeling of genetically engineered food on this November's ballot. They want the right to know what is in their foods.

Vermont state legislators this year tried to pass a bill that would have required foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients to disclose that information on the label. There was a huge public response. The Vermont House Agriculture Committee heard from 111 witnesses in favor of the bill. Hundreds more showed up at the Statehouse to show their support.

Of course, there are those who disagree. Monsanto, one of the world's leading producers of genetically engineered foods, doesn't like the idea. It is also the world's largest producer of the herbicide Roundup as well as so-called "Roundup-ready" seeds that have been genetically engineered to resist the pesticide. So, once it seemed like the bill was headed for passage, Monsanto threatened to sue. The strong-arm tactic worked. Despite passing out of the House Agriculture Committee by a vote of 9 to 1, the bill went nowhere.

This week in The United States Senate we have an opportunity to affirm the right of California and Vermont and all states to label food that contains genetically engineered ingredients. Simply put, this amendment gives people the right to know. It says that a state, if its Legislature so chooses, may require that any food or beverage containing a genetically engineered ingredient offered for sale in that state have a label that says so.

The amendment also requires that the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture to report to Congress within two years on the percentage of food and beverages in the United States that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

There are strong precedents for labeling. The FDA already requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives, and processes. If you want to know if your food contains gluten, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats or MSG, you simply read the ingredients listed on the label. The FDA also requires labeling for major food allergens such as peanuts, wheat, shellfish and others.

Unlike people in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, China, Russia, New Zealand and other countries where labels are required, Americans don't know if the food they eat has been genetically altered.

There was concern among scientists at the FDA in the 1990s that genetically engineered foods could have new and different risks such as hidden allergens, increased plant-toxin levels and the potential to hasten the spread of antibiotic-resistant disease. Those concerns were largely brushed aside. Today, unanswered questions remain. In the United States, resolutions calling for labeling of genetically engineered foods were passed by the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association. In Canada, a landmark independent study by Canadian doctors published in the peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology found that toxin from soil bacterium engineered into corn to kill pests was present in the bloodstream of 93 percent of pregnant women. There is a great need for additional research because there have never been mandatory human clinical trials of genetically engineered crops, no tests for carcinogenicity or harm to fetuses, no long-term testing for human health risks, no requirement for long-term testing on animals, and only limited allergy testing. What this means is that, for all intents and purposes, the long-term health study of genetically engineered food is being done on all of the American people.

The Consumers Right to Know about Genetically Engineered Food Amendment is about allowing states to honor the wishes of their residents and allowing consumers to know what they're eating. Americans want this information. It is time that Congress affirms the right of states to give it to them. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+30 # barkingcarpet 2012-06-20 10:13
While we are at it, why don't we label politicians with their partisan beliefs and corporate sponsors?
It is up to us, the consumers. Vote with every $ you spend. Do NOT support modern America.
Support and rebuild/create "with Liberty AND Justice for ALL!
-11 # Charlie Peters 2012-06-20 10:16
GOOGLE: Prop 87 (510) 537-1796

Bill Clinton, Al Gore & Senator Obama supported the California 2006 Prop. 87, a GMO corn ethanol welfare program.

Bill, Al, have changed opinion on the ethanol mandate, I wonder if California will make this the time for CHANGE?

I support a waiver of the ethanol mandate, voluntary use of ethanol in my gas.

Federal ethanol policy increases Government motors oil use and Big oil profit.

It is reported that today California is using Brazil sugar cane ethanol at $0.16 per gal increase over using GMO corn fuel ethanol. In this game the cars and trucks get to pay and Big oil profits are the result that may be ready for change.

We do NOT support AB 523 or SB 1396 unless the ethanol mandate is changed to voluntary ethanol in our gas.

Folks that pay more at the pump for less from Cars, trucks, food, water & air need better, it is time.

The car tax of AB 118 Nunez is just a simple Big oil welfare program, AAA questioned the policy and some folks still agree.

AB 523 & SB 1326 are just a short put (waiver) from better results.

GOOGLE: Prop 87 (510) 537-1796

CAPP contact: Charlie Peters (510) 537-1796
+4 # rockieball 2012-06-22 12:19
You are going to pay at the pump no matter what is in you cars tank. It's not about supply and demand. It's about Corporation capitalist power, profit and greed. It's about control of you life from cradle to grave and if you complain you're a socialist or a communist or a terrorist.
+57 # rsnfan 2012-06-20 10:37
Bernie Sanders, the one politician who cares about the people and that I can respect.
+28 # DPM 2012-06-20 11:07
If your representative does not vote to have GE foods labeled as such, it is because they are in the pocket of Monsanto. Pure and simple. To support that politician makes you as culpable as the politician and Monsanto in the possible poisoning of our people.
Make sure you let everyone know how you feel about this issue and who you would vote for, so we know whom to include in the class action suit!
+5 # KittatinyHawk 2012-06-20 20:59
If you want to know who will vote for Monsanto...Look at Pa. Corruption rides high in Pa. Governor wants to destroy a Contract for a Stadium because it is Union...the work is already started. Governor takes so much money from fracking along with his party that they stopped shipment of clean water into a town, stopped funding research on esp on the effects on Wildlife. So you want a list look at Pa and Voting, even Casey cannot be trusted.
+1 # Barbara K 2012-06-23 17:10
DPM: If they won't label GMO/GE food, then the other farmers can label theirs instead: GMO/GE FREE food. That ought to let us know what food to buy and what to pass up. How about it?
+34 # Adoregon 2012-06-20 11:13
Two questions all y'all need to be asking yourselves as you read the article above
(1) WHY don't U.S. residents have the "opportunity" to know whether or not they are eating food which contains genetically engineered ingredients?
(2) WHAT NOW PREVENTS states from having the RIGHT TO REQUIRE labels on food products which are genetically engineered? (i.e. WHY is an amendment to the agriculture bill NEEDED to give states the right to require labels on food products which are genetically engineered?)

Answer these questions and you will understand the degree to which [some] corporations, like Monsanto, have "our" government (federal and state) by the throat.

The Sanders/Boxer amendment to the agriculture bill will fix ONLY this particular assault on the public's right to know. What is needed is law to prevent corporations muzzling the public's right to know about ANY product they consume.

That this amendment is needed at all is a surreal indictment of the degree to which the government has failed to protect its own citizens. Transparency, indeed.

Pathetic to the max!!
+13 # universlman 2012-06-20 12:02
These are exactly the types of laws that the election money is intended to strangle.

It is simply a formula. Huge companies like Monsanto, following a blitzkrieg of TV ads, pay politicians on the eve of pending legislation loads of election money. “Donor activity” is how politicians know when they are to kill certain “consumer oriented legislation.”

It is no surprise that it happens. It is just a surprise that it almost always seems to work.
+17 # Todd Williams 2012-06-20 12:18
I find is a little disturbing that in all this publicity on Monsanto and GMO, nobody has brought up the giant problem GMO corn has caused in Mexico. GMO seeds have "invaded" indigenous farmers fields. Corn from these seeds will not reproduce, thus forcing the farmers to purchase corn seed for their next crop. These subsistance farmers for generations have been saving some of their harvet to plant for the next crop. They are now going broke . Also, this poison corn is affecting the migratory Monarch butterflies that winter in central Mexico. Scientists fear the Monarch will die off due to the GMO corn. Monsanto again, like it did with DDT, is having a negative impact on our Southern neighbors. But who cares about Mexicans? Right?
+11 # Adoregon 2012-06-20 13:57
Vis a vis seeds and pollen (and so much else) what goes around literally comes around.

Seeds and pollen don't know nuffin' about borders, much as the ocean is a giant mixmaster for whatever is dumped into it... think Fukushima, agricultural effluent, mining and drilling effluent, etc. ad nauseam.

What is in Mexico will eventually make it across the border into the U.S..
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-06-20 21:03
Same with India and Africa they are a bigger target.
+6 # Street Level 2012-06-20 15:32
I agree with you. Maiz is the ancient culture to our Southern neighbors. Ancient strains are getting infected and can be lost forever, not to mention the pollinators, as you mentioned.
Mexico has been struggling with Monsanto for years and hopefully now with the labeling issue in focus, the true "children of the corn" can get the attention and support to protect their food supply and heritage.
Groups like Move to Amend are starting to wake people up to this issue, how corporate "personhood" silenced Vermont and the adverse effects GMO corn has had for those who never even planted them, like in Mexico.
This all needs to stop. Dow is trying to push Agent Orange corn through the FDA as we speak.
Really, if we loose the pollinators because of Bayer's neonicontinoids , it's over.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-06-20 21:02
It has been brought up here an on other sites....even Yahoo, imagine. Why isn't it on TV is more the question...i guess Media eats food brought in from???
+13 # Phlippinout 2012-06-20 12:38
I am going to start a garden because i can no longer trust our governing body to do its damn job. Thanks for nothin you parasites!
+7 # noitall 2012-06-20 14:46
With Fukushima still spewing out its deadly poison, there is no where to run, no where to hide. Immediately after the Fukushima disaster started, we were warned not to eat broad-leaf plants out of our gardens and then they shut down the monitoring systems. Go figure. Nothing has changed at Fukushima, we hear little other than tuna being 500 times higher in nuclear poisons, it continues spewing. THIS is the control of big corporations and their OWNERSHIP of our "leaders". A bit off from this article, but basically the same thing.
+7 # michelle 2012-06-20 18:30
Be sure to carefully check your seeds. Big chemical/fertil izer companies have been purchasing seed companies for years. Rodale wrote about it in the 1970's. The seeds they sell you may be genetically modified. Look for heirlooms. Try some of the smaller companies. Garden your brains out. We are lucky to live in a climate that allows three crops/year.

We pull a great deal of food out of the yard. Fruit trees are slowly replacing the trees in the front yard. My neighbor grew winter squash and artichokes in the front yard. Good luck with the garden.

When my kids were little we grew some of the old varieties that are fun. There is a great old blue potato from Peru, an old Inca variety. Kids love it. We grew purple pole beans that turn green when you steam them. Magic beans I told them. Kids love to be in charge of their own food. It makes them good veggie eaters.
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-06-20 21:10
There are seed clubs, Dave's Garden has some great links. Garden's Alive also has good products. Blue Potatoes are fun, so was the corn.
I would also check out TM SEEDs from England, Rodale had promoted them years ago. First Romanesco came from them.

Watch your fertilizers, some come from Pacific Ocean and others have pollutants in it. Look for Organic fertilizers and learn to compost.
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-06-20 21:06
Dave's Garden, TM Seeds have heirlooms.
Home garden barring the pests, are a reward with every bite. Learning is non stop. When you want to keep critters out look up recipe for garlic and onion spray, still the most simple . Some Cayenne on plants never hurt just watch how close you do it near picking. Remember the natural sprays need to be replaced after rains...Bon apetit.
+16 # Regina 2012-06-20 12:39
In European countries, and in a number of Asian countries as well, science is understood, respected, and uppermost in decisions affecting health. In the U.S., people are hoodwinked by corporate propaganda, self-serving, false, and largely in violation of science. Americans think that science consists of issues to be voted on, rather than principles to be understood. And the business interests that stand to gain from such ignorance are now meddling in education, to make sure that science will never be taught and learned here. Where there's money to be made, knowledge is tossed out the window.
+12 # tanis 2012-06-20 13:11
I'm with you, fightback, everybody needs a garden. It ain't easy, a lot of work but it tastes better knowing the soil is clean, no pesticides, the plants are healthy, no pesticides, the crops are real and there is no evidence of fossil fuels. People also get to know what is involved in growing your own. (a lot of work). First, get rid of GMO, the fight back is happening all over the world and can happen here as well! City gardens are great, too.
+11 # Interested Observer 2012-06-20 14:03
First, revoke all laws allowing the patenting of life, and invalidate all existing patents.
+1 # T4D 2012-06-20 21:17
Dear Senator Sanders, please stop calling GMO's Genetically Engineered Food. We Engineers still have some pride you know. The people who generically modify food plants are Botanists, and Agronomists. Please credit the science where it is due. Leave us Engineers alone to design stronger bridges, make safer more economical cars, reduce energy requirements, and reduce manufacturing costs.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-06-20 21:20
Most of us have been fighting Monsanto for 26 plus years. This is not a new program, they have been using harmful chemicals for as long as I can remember.
My Anger is Agent Orange chemicals being allowed. I and many others were under the impression that Agent Orange was to be terminated and no components used again due to what we did to our own no less innocent people. It affects the nervous system and then shuts down the organs, no unpainful Has caused birth defects so saying their wasn't testing is a LIE...Vietnam was the testing.
This is a slap in the face of all Vietnam Vets so that is more the disgust than everyone boo ing us Environmentalis ts, Organic Organizers, Organic Farming Institues like Rodale who have been teaching, making us aware for over 50 years. There is no excuse.
California, Migrant Farm Workers taught us about the Chemicals, Fertilizers, Sprays now we are upset. I am glad you are on board but really this is not new news, and it was once on Media. Then everyone just didn't care...

In 1972 to now Baby Formulas have been tainted, my daughter was one who was affected. Baby food also, I made my own as I was not happy, now I wouldn't think about it unless it was certified organic. Juices...organi c.

You can make a difference, you can get referendums. It is a learning process, organize, ask National Organizations how to....but spend more time doing some Awareness than blogs.
+2 # jocorning 2012-06-20 21:45
Hey Fightback -- Two days ago, I had a vegetable garden installed in my back yard for the reason you said. It's my first garden, and it's my way of controlling how the food on my dinner table is grown and produced.
+3 # pernsey 2012-06-22 10:20
Thats the truth Bernie, give' em hell!
0 # lark3650 2012-06-28 06:25
Senator Bernie Sanders is a true statesman; not a politician..and there is a difference. The difference between a politician and a statesman is this: A politician does everything he can to get the people to do something for him; a statesman does everything he can to do something for the people. Thank you, Bernie, for knowing that your job is to do everything you can to do what is right for the people! Kudos!

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