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The 'What's the Point' Category for GMO Labeling Bills

July 23, 2014

Lawmakers have so much work to do, and few days left in which to do it. Formal sessions will end July 31. These bills and a slew of others should be organized under a new heading: ‘Don’t Bother.’ –The Boston Herald A Back Burner Beckons,” July 21, 2014

Vermont has recently passed a state law that requires food manufacturers to label certain foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Vermont’s next door neighbor, Massachusetts, has similar legislation in the queue that will also enact mandate labeling requirements.

On July 21, 2014, the Boston Herald editors published an ardent editorial on their interpretation of GMO labeling bills, explaining why these initiatives are bad for the state of Massachusetts.  Titled “A Back Burner Beckons,” the editorial argues that there is a lack of factual justification for GMO labeling:

There is a whole category of legislation filed on Beacon Hill every two years that can best be categorized under the heading ‘What’s The Point?’...

And so it is that we have a bill that would require food manufacturers to label any grocery item that contains ingredients grown with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The leading pro-labeling argument that is widely used is that “consumers have a right to know.” However, the editorial board highlights the weakness in this argument:

Supporters say consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. Then they should go right ahead and start lobbying Congress for a federal law. Because if food manufacturers are forced to comply with a patchwork of state laws (Vermont has passed a labeling requirement) the only result will be higher costs.

Anti-GMO activists have flooded the internet with pseudo-science remarks about the dangers of GMO labeling; remarks that are scary and simply not true:

There is plenty of Internet-driven innuendo — but no scientific studies that conclude that GMOs, which are widely used, are a threat to human health. But hey, who needs science!

The editorial is a simple and informative read that touches on key issues with the GMO labeling bill: potential damage to prices of groceries and the absence of science proven fact in anti-GMO activist’s claims.