A bipartisan duo has floated the idea of putting an end to having 50 rules for 50 states when it comes to labels on genetically modified foods. The federal government is usually hands off about processes that don't involve safety - they don't do spot testing of organic or kosher food, for example they rely on companies to be honest in filling out paperwork and for the public to be punitive when food makers are unethical. Likewise, GMO is just a process, so the FDA and the USDA hasn't much cared, as long as products show substantial equivalence.

But organic food did not get to be a $105 billion business by waiting for things to happen. For 20 years they have lobbied to gain a competitive advantage using legislative fiat. Only last year, when the USDA had decided that organic food lobbyists should not be in control of defining organic food (and its dozens and dozens of convenient synthetic exemptions) did they suddenly decide government intrusion was a bad thing. Organic food was just fine without the USDA. And now they are objecting to the Federal government being involved in GMOs also, after spending millions and millions of dollars lobbying for that very thing in progressive states like California, Oregon, Washington and Vermont. 

We already have "strong, independent, non-GMO certification", according to Friends of the Earth.

We do? Then why all those propositions to put warning labels on GMOs when non-GMO labels have been accomplishing the same thing? 

And is this label on rock salt an example of the "strong, independent, non-GMO certification" that is helping the public? It can only be 'helping' the public that does not realize rock salt is not an organism so it can't be GMO in the first place. 

Credit: MNN and Shea Gunther's friend Jes, who took the picture.

It seems a little silly to suddenly claim this arbitrary certification is getting the job done better than a Federal standard, but organic food is Big Ag no different than the corn or dairy lobbies, they are going to protect their interests against a Federal incursion that might bring uniformity and a science basis to labels.

The fact is that if organic food has the same standards and oversight as conventional food, a whole lot of organic farmers are going out of business. It's easy to fill out some paperwork and pay a fee for a sticker knowing no one is going to check but if suddenly false paperwork can get you thrown in jail the same way it did Enron people, it is serious business.

For that reason, environmental groups don't want a Federal standard, even though they had Senator Barbara Boxer and 53 other Democrats lobbying for one in 2013. The same groups that spent millions lobbying for Washington, D.C. involvement then back are ready to raise the rebel flag and embrace states' rights - because now tiny Vermont has a state GMO labeling law.

When 2 Republicans joined 53 Democrats trying to penalize GMOs, defenders of anti-science progressives said anti-GMO beliefs were bipartisan. In this case, it really is bipartisan, Republican Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Democrat G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) are sharing equal billing, and organic food lobbyists are insisting it is the Koch brothers in action. 

Because  environmental groups are far better at public relations than corporations or scientists ever will be, they have already come up with a clever new term, on par with Frankenfood and Pink Slime - they are dismissing a consistent national standard for GMOs as the “Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act."

Hmmm, states rights are supreme and against dark things? Yep, it sounds familiar to anyone raised in the South. In 1850.


(1) Last year food groups lobbied against the USDA having oversight. What happened to progressive elites? Didn't they use to love big government and dislike big corporations?  Organic food is $105 billion Big Ag and they have become libertarians about the Federal government. 

In the old days they were more predictable - they could have lawyers on both sides of court cases pitting government laws against each other - such as having to restore a trout under the Endangered Species Act while suing to prevent it under the Wilderness Act - and that was the norm. Now they want the government to stay out of their personal choices. It's a mystery.