Agriculture Secretary Vilsack answers questions about GMO labeling

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In a brief interview, Vilsack. . . lamented the debate that’s divided the farming community. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Were you disappointed the bill stalled in the Senate?

I’m disappointed because I think it’s an opportunity at this point in time to bring agriculture together as opposed to continuing this dispute within agriculture.

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. . . .And I’m hoping that despite the setback that folks in the Senate don’t stop working on this issue and figure out a way to reach common ground.

Do you think that’s realistic before July 1, before Vermont’s law goes into effect?

I think it’s certainly possible and doable if people. . .are willing to understand that they’re not going to get everything they want.

. . . .

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And you see consumers scanning a QR code on a product with their phones as a possible compromise?

That’s certainly not the only way it should be done. . . .There should be an understanding that’s easier for a larger company than a smaller company. . . . There’s a process the industry would have to go through and frankly they should have done this 20 years ago. But they didn’t, so now they’re playing catch-up.

. . . . Is there a need for more USDA funding into research into these issues so people can trust that the research isn’t tainted or influenced by industry?

. . .[T]his administration has believed all along there needs to be more publicly financed research.

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. . . .

My budget is less today than it was when I first became secretary. It’s because agriculture doesn’t have the public understanding. . .But you can’t have that if you’re fussing and fighting within agriculture about labels or about production methods. You’ve got to unify

Read full, original post: GMO labeling: 5 questions with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack

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