Lobbyists at it Again: GMO Labeling Fight Likely to Resume in New Year

Lobbyists at it Again: GMO Labeling Fight Likely to Resume in New Year

Agricultural leaders aren’t giving up on the fight to halt foods from being labeled if they contain genetically modified ingredients. Even though the bill that would have ruined GMO labeling initiatives across the country was stopped dead in its tracks in Congress, leaders say the issue of GMO labeling will be ‘top priority’ when they get back to work in January.

Richard Wilkins, the new president of the American Soybean Association, says he was disappointed that efforts to address GMO labeling, as part of the omnibus budget bill, were unsuccessful.

“We were hoping to get some kind of language in the omnibus bill to preempt states from being able to put into place mandatory GMO labeling requirements. . . But we’re getting indications, certainly from Senator Stabenow and others, that it’s going to be at the top of their list of priorities when they go back into session after the holidays.”

I’m sure he’s anxious, since 93% of all soy grown in the U.S. is now genetically modified.

Wilkins has been trying to prop up Big Food and the biotech industry by saying that state-by-state labeling laws would not only be a nightmare for food manufacturers, but would also create confusion for consumers – though it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read a label that says, “THIS FOOD CONTAINS GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS.”

He has another idea:

“The perception that a consumer could have with a front of package label—it’s alarmist. It’s a fear-monger’s way of trying to achieve a political agenda.”

The most immediate concern for Wilkins is that Vermont has a democratically-passed law now requiring the labeling of GM foods – and it is going into effect next summer. That could be problematic for lobbyists like him who don’t want consumers to know when they are eating GM soy; it’s in so many products, it would make your head spin.

Just in case Wilkins isn’t aware, GM soy has been linked to numerous, serious health risks. For example:

  • GM soy altered mouse liver cells in ways that suggest a toxic insult. [1] The changes reversed after their diet switched to non-GM soy. [2]
  • GM soy leads to anxiety in rats. [3]
  • More than half the offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks. Male rats and mice fed GM soy showed changes in their testicles; the mice had altered young sperm cells. [4] [5]
  • The DNA of mouse embryos whose parents ate GM soy functioned differently than those whose parents ate non-GM soy. [6]

Wilkins made his comments in an interview with Brownfield at the recent Iowa Soybean Association annual meeting in Ankeny.

You can listen to him speak here:

Additional Sources:

[1] M. Malatesta, C. Caporaloni, S. Gavaudan, M. B. Rocchi, S. Serafini, C. Tiberi, G. Gazzanelli, “Ultrastructural Morphometrical and Immunocytochemical Analyses of Hepatocyte Nuclei from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Cell Struct Funct. 27 (2002): 173­180.

[2] M. Malatesta, C. Tiberi, B. Baldelli, S. Battistelli, E. Manuali, M. Biggiogera, “Reversibility of Hepatocyte Nuclear Modifications in Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Eur J Histochem, 49 (2005): 237-242.

[3] I.V. Ermakova, “Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats,” 14th European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; “Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists’ studies,” REGNUM, October 12, 2005; http://www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html;  Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006):

[4] Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007

[5] L. Vecchio et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” European Journal of Histochemistry 48, no. 4 (Oct­Dec 2004):449­454.

[6] Oliveri et al., “Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” 48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7­10, 2006.