"Federal courts have just days to stop Vermont's unconstitutional, costly, and misguided genetically modified (GMO) food-labeling law from taking effect," warned Reason contributors Baylen Linnekin and Julie Kelly a little over a week ago. Vermont's law took effect on July 1. In that same article, Linnekin and Kelly noted that the U.S. Senate was inching "toward a compromise that would, if passed, prohibit laws like Vermont's from taking effect. But even if that bill were to become law, it won't come in time to halt Vermont's law from taking effect next week."
Better late than never. The Senate has taken a procedural step that will lead to the passage of a bill that would mandate federal GMO labeling of foods, either on-package or by means of QR codes. Since foods made with ingredients from modern biotech crops are no more dangerous or nutritionally different than those made from conventional or organic crops, such labels are likely to mislead consumers. However, the new federal requirements will prevent the proliferation of widely varying state labeling mandates. Of course, a non-fraudulent voluntary system of process labeling akin what is done now with regard to kosher and halal products would be much preferable.
In any case, infuriated activists showered the senators with $2,000, apparently to symbolize their being "bought-off" by Big Gene. The thoroughly dishonest and scientifically illiterate Friends of the Earth issued a press release:
This bill is a travesty, an undemocratic and discriminatory bill which preempts state laws, while offering no meaningful labeling for GMOs. If accepted, Americans will remain in the dark about what we feed our families. We are deeply disappointed in the members of Congress who supported this bill and who did not stand with the vast majority of Americans who want mandatory on-package GMO labeling.
Last week, 100 Nobel Laureates called Greenpeace's opposition to biotech crops "a crime against humanity." FOE's unceasing efforts to mislead the public about biotech crops is also a crime.