Results tagged “gmo labeling” from PlanetGreen.org

Roberts (R-Monsanto) and Stabenow (D-Syngenta) Pass Deal

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After years of dismissing activists' ongoing initiative to create consistent GMO labeling standards, the Senate has finally exercised its plenary power and approved a measure that would impose uniform requirements on the food industry.

There's only one little problem.

The proposed law, known as the Roberts-Stabenow bill, does not actually replace the comprehensive state laws it strikes down with any provision for the clear labeling of genetically altered ingredients directly on the package. Instead, it allows corporations to withhold this information by substituting a web address, telephone number or QR code - a form of barcode that can only be scanned and interpreted by certain cell phone apps - for the simple text advisory that already appears on many boxes due to state statutes. This impractical loophole is clearly designed to keep consumers from accessing the very information the Senate supposedly just recognized their right to, and as such is an unreasonable restriction on citizens' liberty to make free and informed personal choices. Even wealthy shoppers will face the considerable obstacle of having to consume minutes, data, and inordinate amounts of time to scan a box, find the correct page on a provided corporate website, or navigate an automated phone system for every article in their carts, when in many states they could formerly turn the package to read the desired statement.

The implications for lower- and middle-class consumers, whose freedom to choose is already hampered by the exorbitant pricing and limited availability of organic foods, are even worse. Many families simply cannot afford the unlimited cellular plans that such incessant telephone calls, usage of phone browsers, and scanning of QR codes would involve; and some do not possess the necessary technology at all. And the alternatives - remembering the corresponding URL for every purchase and visiting every appropriate website, or dialing a long list of numbers at home to listen to robotic messages - cannot possibly take place prior to purchasing the products in question, and therefore do not serve in any way to inform the customer's purchasing decision. This disparate impact is yet another reason that the compromise contained in Roberts-Stabenow has no practical positive effect on the shopping process, in reality.

Obviously, our elected officials have once more chosen duplicitous corporations like Monsanto over the well-being of their constituents. This Senatorial sellout can still be rejected by the House of Representatives, though, and it is imperative that they do so. Passage of the law would hinder any future attempts to close the technological loopholes, and place an unfair burden on the consumer in the simple endeavor to retain some authority over our own bodies.

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