By: Tracy Loew
Three Oregon legislators are among 95 lawmakers across the nation urging Congress to reject a proposed law that would prevent states from requiring labels on food made with GMOs.
The U.S. House easily passed H.R. 1599, which is backed by the food industry, in July. It faces a tougher battle in the Senate.
The legislation would repeal mandatory GMO labeling laws in several states and preempt such laws at the local level.
The bipartisan group — which includes Reps. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, Lew Frederick, D-Portland and Paul Holvey, D-Eugene — signed a letter Tuesday asking Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to oppose the law.
“States have a constitutional right to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws; the federal government does not have the authority to preempt those laws,” the letter reads, citing a District Court decision in April regarding Vermont’s labeling law.
“By allowing the biotech industry and food manufacturers to withhold the fact that their products have been produced with genetic engineering, we allow corporations to create a false market for their products, one based on deception and lack of transparency,” the letter continues.
Holvey and Buckly this year sponsored Oregon’s HB 3121, which would have required genetically engineered raw commodities and processed food offered for sale in the state to be labeled, subject to a public vote. It died in committee.
Originally Published: Statesman Journal