|Thirteen days ago Bernie Sanders issued a plea for citizens to contact their senators to oppose federal legislation that he claimed Monsanto supported. The bill sponsored by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sanders had said, blocks states from passing or overrules their own more stringent GMO right-to-know legislation. Joining over 60 countries around the world that have passed GMO labeling laws were Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska.
Today with a vote of 306 to 117 the House passed a GMO labeling bill that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a national labeling standard that allows food producers to choose how they want to disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients. The bill had passed the Senate last week.
Under the legislation, manufacturers will be able to use text, symbols or a QR code that consumers must scan with a smartphone to relay the information. According to Sanders, instead of a uniform labeling standard like Vermont's law, the bill's language is intentionally confusing to consumers and may be entirely inaccessible if the consumer does not have access to the Internet.
"Perhaps most shockingly, this bill imposes no penalties whatsoever for violating the labeling requirement, making the law essentially meaningless," Sanders said. "Thus, this is a weak bill, full of loopholes, without any requirement to comply."
President Obama is expected to sign the bill.