Perhaps our politicians have heard the message: Americans want GMO labeling.
Last week, about a month after the Natural Products Association adopted its labeling stance and spread its call on Capitol Hill, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced House Resolution 1699, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, on April 24 with 22 cosponsors. It was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Now, we’ll see if they listen. But if this year’s wave of state efforts portend the outcome, it’s not likely.
The road from seemingly simple short legislation to law can become bogged down by politics, pandering and lobbying as it wends its way through committees and onward (if it makes it that far).
NPA Executive Director and CEO John Shaw, who is no stranger to Washington wrangling, said "It’s not an easy choice, but the right choice, to be a national leader in the GMO fight," when the trade association in March announced its stance to push for a national labeling standard.
And as a national law was introduced, he applauded the action and remained confident the association’s platform sets a good direction for Congress and all business.
“Through our principles and support of these principles by our members, we feel we have already given Congress a signal as to what we're willing to accept as a membership at large in order to provide the consumer the right to know,” he said.
The NPA’s national GMO labeling position statement contains five points:
- NPA believes consumers have the right to be informed whether genetically modified components are in their foods.
- NPA supports and encourages the voluntary labeling on non-GMO foods.
- NPA believes that consideration of federal law promoting a uniform standard is warranted to avoid separate standards for GMO labeling at the state level.
- NPA opposes a private enforcement provision, which encourages abusive litigation, to impose compliance.
- NPA supports the FDA consistently reviewing the concept of bio-equivalency of genetically modified ingredients in light of the most recent scientific studies.
And while the NPA and other natural products associations have grown their lobbying efforts individually and jointly in recent years, it’s worth noting the importance of individuals and businesses being heard as well.
Shaw agreed, saying, “It’s always important that an individual member company take action that they feel is appropriate in order to get the results they would like to see happen.”
How can you do that?
- Call or write your senators and representative.
- Inform your customers about the proposed law and how they can contact their elected officials.
- Attend your officials’ town hall meetings to voice your opinion in person.
- Increase the conversation in your community by writing letters to the local newspaper editor and sharing news and opinions with your social networks.
- Support the work of local right-to-know coalitions.
Read this article to see just how natural products retailers have made a difference and continue to get involved.
These resources can help:
- Read the bill here.
- To find your representative: Enter your ZIP code on the U.S. House of Representatives website at this page.
- To find your senator: Visit this page on the U.S. Senate website and choose your state.
Only through action will politicians truly get the GMO labeling message.