Several weeks ago, a very important piece of legislation got introduced in Washington, D.C. – a national GMO-labeling bill.
Sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), this piece of legislation is the first time that any GMO-labeling bill has been put forth in the Senate.
And to be honest, it is way overdue.
More than 60 countries around the world require GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) to be labeled, such as China, Brazil, India, Japan, Australia, Russia, and all nations in the EU, but the U.S. does not.
26 states around the country have taken action on this matter and have GMO-labeling bills at different stages of the legislative process. The most noteworthy of these states is Vermont, where a bill just got approved in the House of Representatives and now goes to the Senate in January 2014, and Washington state, where some type of vote is expected to take place later this year.
Additionally, polls show that more than 90% of Americans believe that GMOs should be labeled.
What is most troubling about the lack of a federal GMO-labeling law is that it goes against everything that the U.S. stands for, most notably our fundamental right to know what is in our food.
The reason that GMOs are not labeled is because of money. The biotech and chemical companies spent $572 million from 1999 to 2010 on lobbying and campaign donations to make sure it does not happen.
Given that we have made a significant step forward with the help of Senator Boxer and Representative DeFazio, the logical question is: What now?
The answer is quite simple. We need to put pressure on our senators and representatives to get behind this bill, so that committee members (where this bill is held) will feel pressure to hold hearings on it and to potentially bring it to vote.
If the numbers are not there, not much will happen. If the numbers are there and enough support is behind a GMO-labeling measure, this could very well happen.
Right now, the numbers are not there. Therefore, it depends on us to make GMO-labeling a reality.
As of today, we have 10 senators and 23 representatives who are in favor of this bill. They include:
Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), James Moran (D-VA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Don Young (R-AK), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), George Miller (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Ann Kuster (D-NH) are co-sponsors of the House bill.
Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are co-sponsors of the Senate bill.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The best thing for you to do is to send a message to your member of Congress by clicking HERE (The Center for Food Safety’s electronic form).
Thank you so much for supporting organic food and fighting for our fundamental rights as American citizens.
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