Right Hooks

The War on GMOs: Coming Soon to a Kitchen Near You?

Lawmakers once again belittling Americans' intelligence.

Jordan Candler · Mar. 7, 2016

Leave it to Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont to demonstrate another case of government ineptitude. Beginning July 1, the state will “require labels on all genetically modified foods produced or sold within the state,” notes a Wall Street Journal editorial. And for what? Despite there being thousands of positive studies on GMOs, “consumers who see a ‘No GMO’ label near a ‘No TransFat’ mark might think there is reason to avoid GMOs, though no evidence supports that conclusion,” adds the Journal. Here’s something else to chew on:

“The Vermont scheme is more expensive than pasting a sticker on a box of crackers. Ingredients would need to be segregated from the grain elevator to the grocery store. No brand could label only what sells in Vermont, lest an illicit bag of Cheetos cross the New Hampshire border and incur the $1,000 a day fine.”

Like every regulation, the cost is actually passed down to consumers. Companies may decide to ditch GMOs completely, which means resorting to pricier ingredients. That in turn results in higher costs at the grocery store. The Journal wryly notes, “Among the law’s defenders is Democratic presidential unhopeful and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and it’s rich to see the guy who rails against the 1% defending Vermont’s 0.2% of the U.S. population dictating food prices for the other 99.8%. Another irony is Sen. Sanders’s supposed loathing for special interests: The Vermont law exempts milk and cheese, which is great news for the state’s large dairy industry.”

The fear is this scheme will go mainstream: “Enter Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who is moving a bill to establish a voluntary federal program for labeling GMOs. His proposal would pre-empt Vermont and direct USDA to create a standard label that companies could choose to put on products. This is unnecessary: USDA already runs a voluntary GMO-labeling program, and it’s called the organic seal. But some 20 state legislatures are considering labeling bills, and the Roberts plan would thwart a patchwork of state regulation — and might win 60 votes in the Senate.” What’s worse — that lawmakers can’t find more important things to fix, or that they believe Americans are too stupid to make their own choices? If they are truly worried about hunger and poverty in America, they would stop waging a war on a harmless process that makes food cheaper and more readily available.

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