By TLB Contributor: Susanne Posel
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have created their own new government certification for foods that are non-genetically modified.
This will be offered on a voluntary basis to food producers who want to pay for approval from the government that their food is void of GMO.
Tom Vilsack, secretary of the USDA, explain in a letter to department employees that the new certification is being created at the request of an undisclosed “leading global company”.
The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS), a department that collaborates with “interested companies to certify the accuracy of the claims on food packages” will take in the payments for this new non-GMO certification.
Vilsack wrote: “Recently, a leading global company asked AMS to help verify that the corn and soybeans it uses in its products are not genetically engineered so that the company could label the products as such. AMS worked with the company to develop testing and verification processes to verify the non-GE claim.”
Ahead of the rollout of this new certification, Vilsack said “other companies are already lining up to take advantage of this service”; however the details are still unknown.
The label template will resemble the example proposed by Congressman Mike Pompeo in 2014.
Pompeo introduced the Safe Accurate Food Labeling Act (HR4432) to “establish a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients, giving sole authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory labeling on such foods if they are ever found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without GM ingredients.”
Although on the surface Pompeo’s effort appear to be championing the consumer’s “right to know” when it comes to GMO, Pompeo is actually the sponsor of efforts by Monsanto and Koch Industries according to Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety (CFS).
O’Neil explained that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) selected “Congressman Pompeo as their champion shows how extreme the proposal really is. Selecting Pompeo creates an unholy alliance between Monsanto and Koch Industries, two of the most reviled corporations in America.”
Pompeo owes his win to the House of Representatives in 2010 to his largest donor, the Koch Brothers.
As a thank you, Pompeo hired a Koch Industries attorney to manage his congressional office on Capitol Hill and subsequently introduced Koch-friendly legislation into the House.
Koch Industries is connected to the GMA through Georgia-Pacific, a member of the industry lobby. Monsanto is also a member of the GMA.
Through the GMA, Monsanto and Georgia-Pacific have spent tens of millions to squash state-level legislation that would require GMO food be labeled.
O’Neil pointed out: “With Vermont, Oregon and other states poised to take action this year, it is clear that GMA is scared of what’s ahead. They know that the food movement’s power is growing and that labeling is not a matter of if but when. They are afraid of state action and now they’re trying to steal away consumer choice in Congress.”
Alongside GMA is the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) who represents Monsanto, Du Pont, Dow Chemical Co and other biotech corporations that manufacture GMO seeds.
BIO has invested more than $6 million to bribe Capitol Hill into supporting their efforts.
Back in early 2014, food manufacturers stated they would give in to labeling GMO if they can voluntarily participate in the rule.
These corporations have been lobbying Congress to “pass legislation that would require the FDA to create guidelines for the new labels, which food manufacturers could use.”
These processed foods giants are proposing a “voluntary labeling of genetically modified foods” in an attempt to preempt the possibility that more states will consider legislation to make this practice law.
The groups involved in this offering include:
• National Corn Growers Association
• National Restaurant Association
• National Beverage Association
In 2001, the FDA drafted an industry guide on voluntary labeling of GMO ingredients in consumer products.
The GMA are in full support the voluntary labeling policy which would preempt “any state labeling laws that are not identical to the federal program.”
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