Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders may have lost a few battles, but he’s not giving up the war against Monsanto.
Less than a week after the U.S. Senate defeated Sanders’ proposed amendment to the food bill, which would have given states the right to require that manufacturers of GMO foods label their products accordingly, the Vermont Senator said he remains unbowed.
“I have not the slightest doubt that the momentum is with us,” Sanders said in an interview Tuesday with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “There are about 27 states in this country that are moving forward on the labeling of GMO food.”
With politicians in New York, Connecticut and Vermont pursuing bills to mandate GMO labeling, Sanders said it made sense to pass a federal law so that individual states wouldn’t be hit with lawsuits from GMO food giants like Monsanto and DuPont.
“If the state of Vermont wants to go forward, I don’t want to see us sued in a multimillion-dollar suit by a very powerful, wealthy corporation who says, well, you don’t have the right to do it, it is a federal prerogative,” Sanders told CNN. “So all that my legislation said is that if Vermont wants to go forward, if Connecticut wants to go forward, California wants to go forward, dozens of other states want to go forward, Monsanto and these other large corporations cannot sue them on the grounds that they don’t have the right label.”
Monsanto argues that requiring labels would harm sales as it would give consumers the idea that genetically modified foods have negative health effects.“We oppose current initiatives to mandate labeling of ingredients developed from GM seeds in the absence of any demonstrated risks,” Monsanto says on its website. “Such mandatory labeling could imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts.”
On Saturday, the St. Louis-based company found itself the target of demonstrations in 52 countries and 436 cities around the world. Many demonstrators in the United States took issue with the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act,” a rider slipped into a Congressional spending bill by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that circumvents judicial authority concerning the planting and development of genetically modified seeds deemed to be unhealthy for human consumption.
“Essentially, what that Monsanto Protection Act rider said is that even if a court were to determine that a particular product might be harmful to human beings or harmful to the environment, the Department of Agriculture could not stop the production of that product once it is in the ground.” Sanders told CNN. “So you have deregulated the GMO industry from court oversight, which is really not what America is about.”
While Sanders noted that the rider would expire in September, but vowed to make sure it would not find its way back into U.S. law.
“I have a very strong feeling that many of us are going to work hard to make sure it does not reappear,” Sanders said.
Cool. Go Bernie Sanders! Corporations should not have more protections than private citizens!