Posted 6 months ago on April 6, 2014, 3:35 p.m. EST by BradB
from Washington, DC
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
With the backing of powerful trade groups, Rep. Mike Pompeo is about to introduce a legislation that will essentially prevent states from passing laws requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods. The bill is allegedly linked to biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries.
Pompeo will offer the bill in the US House before Congress leaves for Easter recess later this month, according to The Hill newspaper and Politico. The bill includes a "prohibition against mandatory labeling," catering to the needs of powerful interest groups that have already declared war against such "right to know" labeling laws in the US. In recent months it became apparent that powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups like Monsanto were forming a 'Coalition for Safe Affordable Food' to push a federal voluntary labeling standard for food made with genetically-modified organisms in order to in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labeling. Recently, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though some members of the new Coalition ended up being dragged into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a major food industry lobbying group and a top member of this new coalition, raised and spent the bulk of the overall $22 million that opponents of labeling sank into defeating Washington State’s ballot initiative on GMO labeling last year, which is three times the amount that proponents of labeling spent in the state. The Coalition said in February that it would seek to empower the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients." In addition, the Coalition proposes the FDA mandate labels for GMO food or ingredients that the agency deems a "health, safety or nutrition issue," even though no consumables currently fall in such a category. Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, has numerous ties to Charles and David Koch, heads of the formidable multinational corporation Koch Industries. He founded Thayer Aerospace (now known as Nex-Tech Aerospace) with investment funds from Koch Industries, and later was named president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company that partners with Koch Industries. His initial run for Congress in 2010 was also bankrolled by Koch brothers. Once in the House, the congressman introduced bills sympathetic to Koch Industries, says The Washington Post. "GMA’s selection of Congressman Pompeo as their champion shows how extreme the proposal really is," said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety. "Selecting Pompeo creates an unholy alliance between Monsanto and Koch Industries, two of the most reviled corporations in America." It should be noted that the vast majority of conventional processed foods in the US are made with genetically-modified ingredients. Around 93 percent of all soybean crops planted in the US last year involved genetically-modified, herbicide-tolerant (HT) variants, the US Department of Agriculture has acknowledged. HT corn and HT cotton constituted about 85 and 82 percent of total acreage, respectively. GMO crops are now grown in 28 countries, or on 12 percent of the world's arable land, with the acreage doubling every five years. However, in the European Union, only two GMO varieties (compared to 96 in the USA) have so far been licensed for commercial harvesting.