Congress passed a bill on Thursday that wipes out state laws requiring the labeling of genetically modified ingredients in food.
The bill particularly strikes down a Vermont labeling law that just went into effect this month and required ingredients derived from genetic engineering to be disclosed on packaging.
Genetically modified organisms have been around for over 20 years; The New York Times looks to the fields to see if the technology has lived up to its promises.
The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.
But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service hosted a conference from March 12 to 13 at North Carolina State University. The conference focused on the importance of coexistence between conventional, organic, identity preserved, and genetically engineered crops.
The conference was a place where experts could put in their two cents and help the USDA form a plan to better promote agricultural coexistence in the US. Sessions were organized to discuss the the current state of affairs, challenges, and additional steps the USDA is considering to respond to the challenges.
EMAC Director, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, presented at the workshop. His speech focused on the economic lessons learned from non-GM markets in the United States. Other speakers included Gary Woodward, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs; Ron Moore, Secretary of the American Soybean Association; and Errol Schweizer, Executive Global Grocery Coordinator for Whole Foods Market.
Among the first signs of trouble for California’s Proposition 37 and Washington’s Initiative 522 were critical newspaper editorial writers who found flaws in the food-labeling measures, both of which ended up narrowly failing at the ballot box.
But this year in Oregon and Colorado, anyone looking to newspaper editorials for an early cue on how Measure 92 (OR) or Initiative 105 (CO) are going to come out will have to be satisfied with mixed results. (more…)