Vilsack mum on outcome of ‘GMO labeling’ meeting

vilsack-tom-photo 8-14Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack isn’t saying much about the meeting he hosted this week with both sides on the contentious issue of GMO labeling.

“I don’t want to comment specifically about the meeting,” Vilsack says. “I just want folks to know we’re working on the issue.”

Vilsack reportedly called that meeting to try to find some compromise on the labeling issue. And while he wouldn’t discuss what took place, Vilsack did tell Brownfield it is important to respect the science behind genetic engineering of crops.

“It’s important to reflect the benefits that those crops have in terms of reduced pesticide use and its impact on soil and water,” he says, “and the ability, I think, to use science to increase productivity, especially when we’re faced with a serious challenge of global food security in the future—so it is important.

“It’s also important to recognize that customers and consumers have a special relationship with food and they are entitled to information. They just need to make sure that they get the information in a way that doesn’t send the wrong message, in my view, about the safety of what they’re consuming—because there’s no question it is safe.”

The labeling debate has pitted consumer groups against major food and agribusiness companies. While there is general agreement on the need for GMO labeling, the two sides have failed to agree on how it should be done, and whether it should be mandatory or voluntary.

Last summer, the U.S. House passed a national voluntary labeling bill that would preempt state laws on GMO labeling.  The Senate has yet to act on that House bill.

Pressure is mounting to address the issue because the deadline to comply with the first state GMO labeling law in Vermont is July first.

AUDIO: Tom Vilsack

  • Dear Sec. Vilsack:

    This is my testimony and I have read that, “after the first of the year,” you will “convene a meeting of … folks who are interested in the [GMO] labeling issue.” I understand that your goal is to address the issue “[i]n a way that doesn’t create significant market disruption while at the same time recognizing consumers’ need to know and right to know the basic information.”

    There will be no market disruption by labeling, in fact there will be increased appreciation for taking the burden of proof off the people that need to know what is in their food; no disruption, only the usual vote with your feet consuming of product that the people are looking for, such as what the huge gains from good health the people are finding at farmers market shopping instead of supermarkets that are not labeling their products that contain GMO’s.

    People want to know what is in their food and the only way today is for them to buy fresh grown products and no processed foods. Every day more people switch away from processed foods precisely because they do not know if GMO’s are in the ingredients.

    Asking the public to scan QR codes is the most ridiculous ploy that the GMO & GMA pushers are asking of you. Do not fall for this. And if you already have fallen, pick yourself up and do the right thing.

    More people are aging and not participating with smart devices. That means in the future, supermarkets for the aging population would do an untold disruptive service to the elder sector. If you allow the GMO GMA lobbyists to switch away from the need to label on a real label itself to a smart phone app QR code that no one has time to do in the store, and elders would have great difficulty doing, you would be marginalizing a very large new demographic of this country.

    QR code is a total win for the GMO GMA sector, forcing people to eat food the people have already written to you they do not want to eat. At the least, people do want to know what it is they are eating.

    You must above all not tamper with and ensure that Vermont’s law (Act 120) to label foods produced with genetic engineering is enforced, as scheduled, in July 2016. The people went through many hoops to get that law enacted and you should not have the authority to change that law. It will be genocidal for you to do so.

    People and animals every day are dying from enlarged organs from eating GMO foods that also kill all the soil with its seed coated Pesticides that are not visible to customers buying seed, and you are discounting the way the genes are shot horizontally so that nature does not recognize them and so the foreign body injected into the seeds become easy for the GMO purveyors to deliberately lie about. The GMO processes kill all the soils and foods in every cell. My closest friend ate solely GMO prepared foods (some of us know which ingredients can be and are GMO, & I am one of them, have taken the Jeffrey Smith’s 8 week course on GMO processes), and a biopsy of his inner organs showed they had grown twice their size, (like the rats pictured in the slides of GMO ingesting rats taken) and crowded out his body causing a vastly quicker death than doctors thought was to happen. GMO’s ingested by animals torture and kill quickly and you need to know, I’ve seen this on GMO factory farms on the Agriculture tours done in my area, that these farms are now scrubbing the innards of their animals to make them produce offspring 4 times more often so as to replace the dying animals from their GMO feeding operations.

    You should be eliminating CAFO-Confined Animal Feedlots instead of kowtowing to the money that GMA and GMO lobbyists are inundating you with.

    There is plenty of proof, but this rogue industry of genetics in foods and soils, that use already banned pesticides will do anything to remain in their businesses that are so lucrative.

    The experiment is over. It has been proven over and over that we need healthy soil to bear healthy and nutritive food that is safe. GMO’s are unsafe and people need to at least read on all the labels what is contained to tell them what they are eating is safe, not GRAS falsely granted. In this land of choices, this is a fundamental choice you are somehow brokered into deciding for the people what will wind you into using GMO’s or properly inform them.

    It is unconscionable that you would have this power to put into jeopardy so may people by trusting a rogue technology! You should instead demand testing of all the methods and process of producing GMO’s in front of you, personally at every step from the beginning of injecting, to the coating of the seeds, to the constantly expanding use of pesticides when their trait preparations no longer work, to the testing for healthy organisms in their planted plots, so that you can see the methods and the process and the results for yourself, without chicanery of this industry’s changing the results, hiding evidence and silencing those who do the testing, keeping revolving doors in the GMO GMA industries, or making blanket, preposterous GMO personnel inside revolving door claims that it is GRAS safe. Of course they have no proof!

    You can save many many lives!!! That is your function in the job you do to make foods safe. Try expanding Permaculture awareness in the growing of foods and caring for the soils, that is the safest of all methods while building more good soils that otherwise keep disappearing with accumulated generations of Big Ag abuse to all living beings.

    Your job is really very easy if you are principled, honest and ethical about keeping independent in your judgments and decisions.

    Once that VT law takes effect, if there is an opportunity for a mandatory, on-package, nationwide standard, that meets or exceeds the Vermont standard, and that would label all foods produced with the use of genetic engineering, this would have my full support, provided the national standard:

    • Requires mandatory labeling

    • Requires labels to be placed on all foods that have been genetically engineered or contain genetically engineered ingredients, including fish and the meat, milk and eggs of genetically engineered animals and animals given genetically engineered feed or growth hormones, and animals or foods subjected to Glyphosate and other chemicals use; and foods produced using new genetic engineering techniques such as RNA interference and gene editing technologies

    • Requires conspicuous and prominent identification, in writing on the package, of the food or ingredients in the food that are “genetically engineered,” or “produced with genetic engineering.”

    Thank you.

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