This November citizens in Colorado will be asked to vote on a ballot initiative called Proposition 105 that would require warning labels on thousands of food products that include an ingredient from genetically modified (GM) crops. Like recent California and Washington state labeling initiatives, which voters rejected, Proposition 105 would mandate a special interest requirement that will increase food costs for taxpayers without providing any safety or nutritional benefits. Many who support these labeling measures call them ‘right-to-know’ initiatives. We stand with millions across the U.S. who believe everyone has the right to know more about these measures and whether they are right for our country.
Monsanto is part of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food. This is a growing coalition of farmers, food producers, retailers, civic and business organizations, scientists, taxpayers and consumers who have come together to oppose state-by-state mandatory labeling laws like Proposition 105. The reason we don’t support them is simple. They don’t provide any safety or nutrition information and these measures will hurt, not help, consumers, taxpayers and businesses. A patchwork quilt brings pieces of fabric together. But patchwork labeling laws will pull apart our national labeling policy. We support a federal approach which ensures food safety and consumer choice.
Within the United States, the FDA is the nation’s foremost food safety agency and, as such, has established a clear policy with respect to labeling food products containing GM ingredients. But, what happens when each state creates its own special requirements? Will those requirements be determined by political campaigns driven by special interest groups or local legislators without regard to the impact outside their own state? Who will oversee these laws in each state to make sure consumers are protected? Farmers and food producers throughout the country will have to separate, repackage and re-label products differently for sale in each state. The cost to comply with these mandatory laws will be extensive and we will all end up paying for them with higher grocery bills. (Sources: Cornell University Study, April 2014; Washington Research Council September 2013; Northbridge Environmental Management Assessment of Proposition 105, September 2014. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). 2014. Issue Paper 54. CAST, Ames, Iowa. )
Right now the FDA’s existing science-based labeling policy serves us all. It not only provides a framework for consumer protection and safety, it also allows for consumer choice by allowing labels like “non-GMO” or “organic” for consumers who want to purchase those products. The same can’t be said for a hodgepodge of state-by-state labeling laws which change with each state boundary. A single nationwide policy consistent with federal law, set by the FDA and not political campaigns, state or local legislatures, addresses consumers’ needs for information as well as safety concerns. And, it protects consumers, keeps food costs lower and makes it easier for Americans to make informed product choices regardless of where they live, work or travel.
As consumers Monsanto employees are committed to developing products that contribute to safe and nutritious food choices for all consumers – including their own families and friends. It is clear that now, more than ever, people want to know where and how their food is produced. The preferred solution – a federal solution protecting people and providing a consistent set of standards for safety as well as consumer information – will make everyone feel confident about the food they put on their dinner table every night.
For more on the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food please visit www.CFSAF.org. To learn more about our position on labeling food, please visit http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/food-labeling.aspx