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8/11/15

US Congress - GMO Labeling: The Monsanto Protection Act is back -- worse than before - impact on EU TTIP negotiations

The biggest threat to GMO labeling that we ever saw could soon become law if people don’t react now.

US Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo, Monsanto’s hand-picked representative in Washington, has combined his anti-GMO labeling bill, the “DARK Act,” with the Monsanto Protection Act – and it’s even worse than before.

This newly revised Monsanto Protection Act would not only prevent states from enacting their own GMO labeling laws, but it would go even further by nullifying all existing restrictions on GMO crops already on the books.

This unbelievable power grab by Monsanto and its Republican supporters is quickly making its way through Congressional committees and could be up for a final vote by the end of the month.

According to the Environmental Working Group, a leading advocate for GMO labeling and major opponent of Rep. Pompeo’s legislation, the new Monsanto Protection Act would:
  • Block all state laws requiring mandatory GMO labeling, including Vermont’s landmark labeling law;
  • Prevent the FDA from establishing a national mandatory GMO labeling program;
  • Possibly block non-GMO claims until the USDA creates a non-GMO certification program, which could take up to 10 years;
  • Block all state and local efforts to protect rural communities and farmers from the impacts of GMO crops;
  • Prevent claims by food companies that non-GMO foods are better than GMO ones.
The consequences of this legislation for the US food system would be drastic and widespread.

US State-level efforts to label GMO foods that have already passed in states like Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut would be nullified. All local oversight and restrictions on genetically modified crops would be prohibited. Laws and regulations in states and communities with GMO-free agricultural zones, including in California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, could be completely overturned.

Monsanto has significantly beefed up its lobbying efforts to pass this bill, spending nearly a half million dollars per month in total lobbying and boasting that it has contacted every single member of Congress.

Recent polling shows that even though more than 90% of Americans are in favor of GMO labeling, corporate money  is being used to influence Congressional legislators to vote against preventive health measures and consumer choices provided by food labeling.

The EU negotiating team at the EU-US Trade Negotiations (TTIP) are hopefully also aware of the going's on in the US Congress in relation to GMO's and food labeling. 

New EU food labeling rules came into force in the EU on December 13, 2014 to ensure that consumers receive clearer and more accurate information about what they buy and eat.

The new EU  rules will now even  force restaurants and cafés to list 14 different allergens in the menus - including nuts, gluten, lactose, soy or milk.Displaying allergens was until then only mandatory for pre-packed foods.

Nano components will also have to be included in the ingredients list. Oils will need to refer to the plants used in their production, such as sunflower, palm or olive.

Fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry will need to carry a mandatory origin label, with a font size of at least 1.2 milimetres.   

As one EU parliamentarian noted: "we must keep that unlabeled American Junk-Food out off the European food supplies". 

EU-Digest

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