July, 12 2016

ICYMI: Conservatives Support the Agricultural Biotechnology Solution

Conservative support is strong for the agricultural biotechnology legislation that the House is expected to consider this week.  Major conservative leaders from American Enterprise Institute Fellow Alex Brill and free market activist Jerry Roger to Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mick Mulvaney all agree that Congress needs to pass this bill, which will immediately preempt Vermont’s labeling law.

This legislation will prevent a costly patchwork of state labeling mandates while offering a free market approach to GMO disclosure. This common sense approach has earned the support of over 1,100 food and agricultural organizations from all 50 states. These are just a few of the things to keep in mind if you hear criticism from Heritage Foundation over the next few days.

Take a look at what’s been said.

Congressmen Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, Scott Garrett, Scott DesJarlais, Rod Blum and Jeff Duncan write in a Dear Colleague letter:

  • We are writing to urge you to support S. 764, which creates a national unifiorm approach to disclosure of biotech (GMO) ingredients in food products. The bill is expected to be considered on the House floor before we adjourn for the July recess….We urge our colleagues to support this common sense national uniform solution and pass S. 794 before we adjourn in mid-July. 

Conservative free market activist Jerry Rogers writes in Townhall:

  • “A free market requires a consistent, national labeling system to provide consumers information regardless of where they live or grocery shop. The House must act to pass Roberts-Stabenow. The bill is a critical, market-based proposal that will protect families, farmers, and businesses. The bill does not mandate “GMO warning labels” but rather will implement an innovative Smart Label technology (or QR code) that will offer consumers easy access to detailed information about their food choices.”

In his op-ed, American Enterprise Institute research fellow Alex Brill explains how  the advantages of competition, innovation, and free trade in the American food supply are at risk if Congress fails to act on a uniform, national GMO disclosure solution:

  • “Some conservatives have balked at the idea of more federal preemption and suggested instead that Vermont’s residents be allowed to have costlier and more limited food options if they so choose. But what’s at stake is much more than the welfare of 625,000 Vermonters. One state should not be permitted to impose a costly and misleading campaign on the residents of the other forty-nine states. The reality is that conservatives are down to two options: 1) do nothing, and allow a small, left-wing state’s GMO labeling mandate to be adopted nationwide, or 2) support a smaller GMO disclosure requirement that will preserve the benefits of biotechnology and a grocery supply chain that has worked effectively for decades.”

And Senator Ted Cruz addresses conservative concerns in his statement in support of the biotech labeling solution, saying:

  • “Although I am concerned about a prospective new federal labeling mandate, I voted to advance this bill to support Texas farmers and ranchers in the face of one state unilaterally threatening to force a national labeling standard that would confuse consumers, drive up the costs of doing business, and significantly harm the jobs of those in the agriculture industry. Consumers should be empowered to make informed decisions, which this bill encourages, without producing the negative effects that the Vermont law would have on farmers, ranchers, and millions of agricultural jobs in Texas and nationally.” 

House inaction is not an option. The legislation before the House will protect American farmers, consumers and food producers from a costly, confusing patchwork of state labeling mandates. This is the conservative solution America’s food supply needs and the House should pass it by the end of the week so the negative impacts of Vermont’s law do not spread any further than they already have.

About the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food

We are a broad-based coalition representing the entire American agriculture food supply chain – from farm to fork. We are committed to increasing the public’s understanding about the science and safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and advocating for science-based policies that keep food affordable for every American.

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