GMO food labeling bill opens door to political interference in science

| July 29, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

On Thursday, July 23, the “DARK” side took a hit. By a vote of 275 to 150, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo), aimed at preempting state-level mandates for discriminatory, skull and crossbones labels on foods derived from crops improved through biotechnology, or “GMOs.”

Those who have tried to use fear and deception to advance a dogmatic world view, built on deceit and self-deception, contradicted by data and experience have suffered a massive defeat. Again. Members of Congress rejected their clamor (rumors suggest calls urging “No” votes outnumbered support by 300 to 1) and voted to reject the niggling (and expensive) harassment campaign, largely underwritten by the organic lobby, and chose instead to support modern agriculture.

Despite the importance of the bill, there are some areas where it can be improved. Section 461(a)(1) makes it unlawful to commercialize a crop variety improved through biotechnology unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) certifies no objections to the outcome of the FDA voluntary consultation process. This is a change in the FDA process from voluntary to mandatory.

This is not an advisable change. The FDA process is not broken. In two decades there have been zero failures and zero negative outcomes (which does beg the question, what are the comparable numbers for organic food?). This bill, as it stands, would create a new opportunity for political interference with a regulatory process that is already under political attack despite its unbroken record of remarkable success. That would create far bigger problems than it seeks to solve.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The ‘DARK’ Side Loses Another One, With House Passage of State Labeling Preemption Bill

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