|Photo by MillionsAgainstMonsanto on Flickr|
It seems secret meetings have been taking place between the food industry and the US Food and Drug Administration on the subject of GM labelling.
The word is that 20 major food companies, including giants like Wal-Mart, Pepsi-Frito Lay, Mars, Coca-Cola, General Mills and others, are lobbying for mandatory federal GMO labelling.
Put into another perspective, up until November 2012 these companies were throwing money at defeating a labelling bill in the State of California: so much money in fact that the bill was defeated (see NO GM LABELLING FOR AMERICA... YET - November 2012). By 11 January 2013, the same crowd were pleading for labelling.
What's changed their minds?
The vision of an endless train of state-level initiatives, each more expensive to defeat that the one before no doubt was a prime incentive.
Also, the inevitable success of the pro-labelling lobby sooner or later, plus the night-mare scenario for US industry in which each State adopts different laws which have then to be accommodated, must finally have dawned on them.
If this sounds like good news, it may not be.
America excels at promoting commercial interests. It's equally good at designing its laws to promote commercial interests: laws which should protect people, are sadly no exception.
Since federal laws will trump all state laws, industry's GM-labelling conundrum can easily be solved by bringing in over-generalised laws, or by making laws which set upper limits instead of minimum standards, or by simply taking forever to draft them. And then, there's the fact that once food companies have asked for labelling laws, the grassroots movement insisting on full-disclosure and right-to-know will grind to a halt.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Now is the time for the US public to put their representative's attention on creating GM labelling laws for the people not for the convenience of commerce. If you have friends or relatives in America, suggest they get on the case.
- Michele Simon, Will a Federal Compromise on GMO Labeling Trump State Law Forever? Nation of Change