A funny thing happened as the state of Vermont began implementing its long-awaited law requiring that food manufacturers label foods containing genetically-modified-organism or GMO ingredients on July 1.
The makers of 3,000 food products pulled those items from stores in Vermont rather than run afoul of the state’s new labeling law. That’s something the rule’s proponents of the rule didn’t bargain for when they convinced voters to pass the law.
GMO labeling has become a major cause for activists who seemingly are determined to stop the use of all pesticides. Although no evidence exists GMO crops are anything but safe, activists have become convinced the planting of those crops has led to increased use of such chemicals as glyphosate.
After they lost GMO-labeling referendas in California and Oregon, the activists and the organic food processors that fund them went after smaller states such as Vermont. The idea was that if they could pass such a law, food manufacturers would begin labeling GMO-containing products rather than have their products excluded from those states.
Instead, some food manufacturers decided they need sales in Vermont less than they need the expense of adding labels about perfectly safe food ingredients.
Concerns over the labeling requirement leading up to the July 1 implementation date in Vermont did help spur Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the committee’s ranking member, to reach a compromise on the issue. The House and Senate have voted to approve the measure, sending it to the president for his signature.
Although activists have labeled the bill the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know), the bill’s supporters claim it would provide consumers the information about biotech content in food products they need “without stigmatizing a completely safe and sustainable food technology.”
That is, after all, the crux of the matter. Most activists don’t really care whether GMO foods are safe – the science says they are. They are much more intent on using labeling requirements to further spread fear and distrust of the food supply so they can force farmers to stop growing GMO crops and reduce pesticide usage.