Vermont became the first state to require food companies label products that contain genetically modified (GM) foods. The requirement goes into effect July 1. But even if you don’t live in the Green Mountain state, you may benefit from Vermont’s actions. Several large food makers said they will comply nationally with Vermont’s new law.
Granted, it almost didn’t happen. Food companies lobbied hard for Congress to find a national “solution.” In other words, they wanted Congress to forbid states from requiring this labeling. But the U.S. Senate narrowly voted 49-48 against a bill that would have forbidden states from passing GM label laws.
It was a narrow but huge victory for consumers who just want to know how their foods are made. Some food makers said they won’t print different labels, so they plan to pull out of this relatively small state market. But others plan to follow the Vermont law nationally. In fact, General Mills just announced it will comply with Vermont’s new law and even put labels on foods delivered nationwide.
Nestle also supports the mandatory informed disclosure about GM ingredients in foods and beverages and will comply with the Vermont state law. Campbell’s Soup is also printing new labels on a national basis in compliance with the state law.
Let the free market find the way
Last week, I also heard the CEO of General Mills tell Jim Cramer on CNBC that they are taking artificial ingredients out of their breakfast cereals and other products in response to consumer demand. Regardless of what one thinks of breakfast cereals, General Mills has been a very well-run company from a business standpoint. As good businessmen, they know it’s a “win-win” when they respond to consumer demand.
Good business practices that meet consumer demand are the only real solution to the problems of GM foods. Keep crony capitalist federal bureaucrats out of the way, and local governments, the citizens, and the free market will find the way.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a big bureaucratic trade association, filed a suit in federal court against the Vermont law. They asked the courts to block the Vermont law until the U.S. Senate passes some kind of hypothetical national standard. The court denied the GMA’s request, but the GMA has appealed the decision. The GMA argued, “one small state’s law is setting labeling standards for consumers across the country.”
That’s great! The judge must have read the Tenth Amendment about States’ rights. This amendment is supposed to protect citizens against overreaching federal government control.
Majority of Americans favor GM labeling
According to an Associated Press poll from 2014, two-thirds of Americans favor GM labeling. Vermont says it simply goes to show that big food companies have the capability to join 64 other countries around the world that already require GM labeling. Other countries are leading the way in banning GM foods altogether.
Of course, the FDA also weighed in, claiming that GM foods are safe. But as I reported earlier this year, the FDA never required safety testing on such foods, contrary to their own regulations…so how do they really know they’re safe?! Besides, if GM ingredients are so great, why not label them? As usual, competence, consistency, honesty, and logic are not hallmarks of the federal bureaucracy.
Plus, as I often report, GM foods negatively impact the environment. Research links the toxic pesticides used to grow GM foods with the decimation of bee and butterfly populations. Furthermore, I believe these chemicals are destroying the Earth’s ecology.
You won’t hear a word about GM foods from supposed “progressive” political leaders like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They’re actually in the pockets of big food, together with big pharma, banks, and insurance. And here is where we need to give credit to Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who left the campaign trail to oppose GM foods and try to block President Obama’s crony capitalist appointee to the FDA.
So starting this summer, thanks to Bernie (and no thanks to the Obama administration) you can start looking for those labels from Campbell’s, General Mills and Nestle. To some extent, the large food companies may see an advantage to getting ahead of this curve, while smaller companies may have a harder time complying.
Overall, I recommend avoiding the center aisles of the grocery store with all their packaged and prepared products. Stay mainly on the outside and look for fresh produce, meats, and dairy, which are more often locally produced. And look for the special sections for foods produced within 50 miles of the point of sale — which are exempt from interference by many of the crony capitalist federal regulations.