Back in February, I urged my followers to get into action on the issue of GMO labeling. As you may remember, the Senate Agriculture Committee was working to pass a national GMO labeling compromise that would pre-empt Vermont’s state law, which goes in effect on July 1st. I suggested people contact “swing” Senators on the Agriculture Committee regarding passing a national GMO labeling bill.
I put a particular emphasis on Senator Debbie Stabenow. The Senator had been a proponent of a federal law which would allow for voluntary non-GMO labeling, but then switched her position after being wined and dined (and receiving contributions from) some big players in the organic industry. Senator Stabenow is also the ranking minority leader on the Committee, which makes her support especially important.
She’s also my Senator, which made me keen to contact her personally (lest any of you think I urge action without taking it myself!). So, I contacted the Senator on her Facebook page and asked her to support Senator Roberts’ legislation.
I recently (finally…) received a response to my request. Here is Senator Stabenow’s letter:
Thank you for contacting me about labeling genetically modified food. There is nothing more important than ensuring the safety of the food we feed our families and providing information to consumers about the food they eat.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I support sound, scientific research to ensure the safety of genetically modified foods. I also support the ability of consumers to make the most informed choices about their food. That is one reason why I fought for the 2014 Farm Bill to include unprecedented investment in areas like organics, healthy fruits and vegetables, and local foods so that consumers have increased choices.
I have made it clear that any genetically modified food labeling bill must create a national system of disclosure and transparency for consumers who wish to know more information about their food. It must also address the challenges businesses would face in meeting 50 different state labeling standards. I will continue to keep your views in mind as I work with my colleagues in the Senate to find a solution that addresses the many legitimate concerns across all parts of our food system, from farmers to consumers.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.Sincerely,Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator
Now, rumor has it that the Senate is still trying to hammer out a compromise on this issue before July 1, 2016, which is the date the Vermont law goes into effect.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Senator has not changed her views after the recent contributions to her re-election campaign (yes, I realize this is a form letter). I’m disappointed, but not surprised. Her position now sits in line with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
But at least we now know where she stands…