Colorado Food Fight
By Jerry Rogers
For years now, American farmers have reported the numerous advantages of using genetically modified (GM) crops. What’s more, roughly 2,000 studies have confirmed that genetically modified organisms (GMO) are as safe as or safer than conventional or organic foods. For thirty years, the science has remained unchanged. Yet, the anti-GMO activists continue their disinformation campaign.
Ronnie Cummins, national director for the anti-GMO Organic Consumers Association (OCA), wrote that the “turning point in the anti-GMO Movement in the U.S. came in 2012-13 when organic and anti-GE organizations … decided to bypass the federal government and launch high-profile, multi-million dollar state ballot initiative campaigns for mandatory labeling of GMOs in California and Washington State.”
Mr. Cummins knows that the campaign for state-based labeling has nothing to do with a consumer’s right to know, and everything to do with using mandatory labeling to drive GMOs off the market. He admits that “state legislative battles in Vermont, Oregon, and other states will likely reach critical mass in 2014, forcing industry and the federal government to finally adopt EU-type regulations and practices on GMOs.”
Over four dozen pieces of legislation have been introduced in nearly 30 states to require GMO labeling. This death-by-a-thousand-cuts campaign has traveled to Colorado with a GMO labeling question on that state’s November ballot.
The good news is that some in the mainstream media are paying attention to the science and benefits of GMOs. Just last week, the Denver Post editorial board urged its readers to vote “no” on the GMO labeling measure (Proposition 105)—writing that it is “a badly flawed measure that will hurt Colorado farmers and food producers without providing any health benefit to consumers.”
The politics of GMOs need to catch up with the science. There is federal legislation that may be a good first step in doing just that. Introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D., N.C.), the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014” would preempt unsound efforts like Colorado’s Prop105 and create national standards for food labeling under the sole authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.