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The results are still trickling in for Washington’s I-522 GMO labeling vote, but unofficial results still reveal that the measure was defeated.
This may leave many wondering: what now?
If the food industry giants, who just spent millions to make sure GMO foods were not labeled, in Washington have anything to do with it, the next step is to make sure that state-level labeling movements aren’t even an option in the future.
That’s right, kids: the big food industry doesn’t even want the issue of GMO labeling to come to a vote at a state-level anymore. It’s part of their plan to be sure that GMOs triumph.
Michele Simon, a public health lawyer, obtained internal documents from the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) that indicated the solution to fighting GMO labeling is to “pursue statutory federal preemption which does not include a labeling requirement.”
According to Simon, “The food industry’s ultimate game plan to stop the bleeding in the state-by-state onslaught of GMO labeling efforts is to lobby for a weak federal law that simultaneously preempts or trumps any state-level policy. While we have known that industry would want to put an end to the public relations nightmare happening state by state, this document for the first time reveals the lobbyists’ specific strategy.”
Simon explains that, in typical cases of this sort of movement, “preemption,” or the basic understanding that a higher law rules over a lower law (federal over state, for example), the following pattern emerges: “A grassroots movement builds over time to enact local or state laws to protect public health or increase the minimum wage, or some other social goal, and industry fights these efforts for years, until they can no longer win. At that point, corporate lobbyists either get their own weak bill passed, or work with advocates to pass a compromise version. In exchange, this new law will preempt or prevent any state or city from passing a different or stronger law. It will also negate any law already passed. Forever.”
But something is quite different in what the GMA hopes to do: the food industry wants to make it illegal for states to pass their own laws about GMO labeling with nothing given on their part in return.
“Usually, there is some underlying legal requirement that industry must follow for the concept of preemption to even make sense,” Simon writes. “The idea is to require some action by industry, with the trade-off for companies to follow one standard instead of 50.”
In other words, the food manufacturers will lobby for federal law banning state GMO labeling, while at the same time not having any requirement to label their GMO food products – ever.
Talk about having your GMO apple pie and eating it, too. Let’s continue to scrutinize big food’s agenda, Green Monsters, before we all end up having to eat their GMO-laden pie.
Image Source: sarabethb1/Flickr