by S. Johnson, Natural News:
In a strange twist, Rand Paul has recently allied with Monsanto and has joined the ranks of academic shill Kevin Folta after coming out against GMO labeling, stating that the labeling requirements would push up the price of food for consumers — particularly poor ones.
To make matters worse, this year Rep. Mike Pompeo (from Kansas) proposed a bill that would block states’ citizens from democratically mandating GMO labeling. (Pompeo is also the single largest recipient of campaign funds from the Koch Brothers.) This bill, also known as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, would effectively block Vermont and other states from being able to vote on or enforce GMO labeling, making it impossible for them to protect their consumers. Pompeo’s bill would instead set up a “voluntary labeling program” that companies could either opt in or opt out of; however, with Big Food’s near monopoly, this approach amounts to little more than wishful thinking.
Too, taking away states’ rights constitutes the worst type of government overreach. With that in mind, it seems odd that a self-proclaimed libertarian like Rand Paul would say that “he has not yet decided how he will vote on the Pompeo bill,” as reported by Agri-Pulse.com.
Rand Paul’s excuse for coming out against GMO-labeling falls flat. He is spreading a misconception by saying that requiring GMO labeling would drive up food costs, since most estimates show that GMO labels may cost consumers only $2.30 per person per year, assuming that these costs would be passed on to consumers at all, despite the fact that food corporations routinely change their product labels anyway. Why then does Cornell Professor William Lesser claim that GMO labels would cost each American family of four an average of $500 a year? Hmm… Is it because he was funded by the Council for Biotechnology Information, an industry front group that is dedicated to promoting the use of biotech and GMOs in agriculture? Could it be that industry money influenced Lesser’s conclusions?
Meanwhile, it sounds as though Rand Paul is getting his “facts” straight from the mouth of Monsanto. Consumers Union reported that the costs reported for GMO labeling are wildly overestimated:
The Lesser study was funded by the Council of Biotechnology Information and is their intellectual property. The Council consists of major biotechnology companies Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, and Dow, which are all in opposition to A3525 and have actively lobbied against labeling bills across the country.
Consumers Union found that this industry-funded study is based on faulty assumptions and that A3525 will not lead to any appreciable increase in the price of food bought by consumers.
Why then would Rand Paul say, “The labeling requirements are enormously expensive and just add to the cost of foods. Somebody who is poor can’t buy as much food because of requiring labels to be stuck on things.”
Is it because Rand Paul has been in the pockets of Monsanto all along? In 2012, Paul voted against a GMO labeling amendment, put forth by Bernie Sanders, that would “permit States to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient.” In response to a question about why he voted down the GMO labeling amendment, Paul said, “So while there is evidence we should be concerned about GMOs, we should also be careful not to lose our constitutional perspective simply because the end result is one we may desire.”
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