A picture of Representative Peter Welch
Peter W.
Democrat VT 0

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  • Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendment to House Amendment to S. 764, National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2015

    by Representative Peter Welch

    Posted on 2016-07-13

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    WELCH. Mr. Speaker, Vermont's GMO labeling law, Act 120, was signed into law in 2014 after years of hearings, testimony, and debate. It was the first-in-the-Nation GMO labeling law, but Americans should understand that 64 nations around the world have GMO labeling. That law was passed by a vote of 28-2 in the Vermont Senate and by 114-30 in the House. It garnered support from Republicans and Democrats. The reason it did is that labeling is simply giving consumers information that they can use in deciding whether they want to buy a particular product or not. GMO labeling tells consumers whether the product contains GMOs.

    Some of its opponents oppose this largely because they think consumers aren't entitled to that information even though they believe that GMOs are tremendous. But if they want to brag about GMOs, why don't they want to label GMO products so consumers can make their own decisions? Now what we have is a situation in which the legislation we are going to be considering says that we will put a label on but not one that you can read.

    The label that would be ascribed would allow manufacturers to decide to put on ``GMO contained herein''--and that is in English--just like a calorie label or how much salt is in there.

    It would also give them the option of using, in effect, a barcode whereby, when you are shopping and you have got to get home to make dinner and you have got to take a son or a daughter out to a play practice or to a sports game, you have to take your iPhone, scan the barcode, go to a Web site, and then investigate the Web site as to whether or not that can of black beans contains GMOs. Who has time to do that? How is that a practical option? The other option for the company is to put on a 1-800 number, where you are probably getting a call center overseas, and you are talking to somebody about the beans that you are buying at the co-op in Burlington. Folks who are busy mountain women don't have time to do that, so let's get real.

    This bill that the Senate has sent over is dumb. If you want to label something, use English. That is all you have to do, and we should accept the fact for our consumers, the people we represent. If they want to know something, why not tell them? I applaud Campbell Soup for deciding it is just going to put GMO labels on the products and will let the consumers decide. Let's kill this bill. Let's get a national standard that uses English.

    {time} 1330

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