Senator Bernie Sanders Takes on GMO Labeling (GreenAnswers.com)
August 3, 2012
By Lily Kosmicki
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Barbara Boxer of California are introducing an amendment to the agriculture bill, which will give states the right to require labels on food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. They believe Americans have a right to know. Senator Sanders argues that in forty-nine countries around the world, including all of Europe, people have the opportunity to know if they are ingesting genetically altered ingredients or not. The senator is upset that the United States has no such right or opportunity to know. The senators’ amendment will be voted on soon.
Sanders is appealing to the idea that people are getting more and more concerned with what foods they choose to consume themselves and what they serve their children. Senator Sanders believes that people have the right to know what exactly they are serving. Because the full range of effects are yet unknown in terms of genetically altered foods, Sanders believes people of the United States should have the right to know if ingredients in what they buy contain genetically modified organisms. The risk of genetically modified organisms not only endangers biodiversity and poses risk of cross contamination, but its long term effects on health are yet unknown. Many genetically modified plants do not retain the nutrients of their original, organic counterparts.
With all that in mind, Senator Sanders and Boxer are spearheading the amendment that would allow for states to decide if they want to label genetically altered food or not. In fact, the stance is popular as poll after poll states that nine out of ten Americans want their food to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered materials.
Support for the amendment comes mostly from Senator Boxer’s constituents, as nearly one million Californians signed a petition calling for the labeling of genetically engineered foods provoking a bill on the November ballot. Overall, everyone wants to know what is in their food so they can in turn understand they risks and health effects that come along with that food.
Similarly in Senator Sander’s constituency, Vermont state legislators attempted to pass a bill that would disclose if food products contained genetically engineered ingredients on the label. Support was rampant in both the public’s response and in the house and senate.
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