Consumers have effectively taken a huge step forward in their quest to know what is in the food they buy and eat. More than 2,000 grocery food retailers across the United States have agreed to support the consumer campaign for genetically engineered (GE) free seafood, by committing to not selling genetically engineered seafood if allowed onto the market. These retailers include Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Aldi, among others.
This committment proves significant in light of the fact that the FDA has already stated that they are not likely to require genetically engineered salmon to be labeled. This FDA failure to label, will be the precedent for the more than 35 other species of genetically engineered fish currently being developed. Reportedly, genetically engineered cows, chickens and pigs are not far behind.
Meanwhile back at the "congressional ranch", the US Congress is moving forward with the passage of the 2013 Agricultural Appropriations Bill (AAB). This bill contains a little known rider dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act", that would effectively allow agricultural biotech companies such as Monsanto, to bypass the legal system in approving, growing and selling genetically modified seeds and crops.
Currently, federal courts have the authority to stop the sale and planting of potentially hazardous GE crops, while the USDA assesses any such dangers. If the Monsanto Protection Act is approved on the coat tails of the AAB, the courts would be stripped of this authority. In doing so, it is argued that organic and non-GMO farmers would be denied equal protection under the law, especially in cases of alleged crop contamination and patent infringement.
If approved the Monsanto Protection Act, actually named with irony as the Farmer Assurance Provision, threatens the existence and livelihood of the very farmers its name pretends to protect. The "one step forward and two steps back" dance, between consumer protection and corporate greed continues.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.