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Source: Syracuse Post-Standard

NY legislators should act on labeling of GMO food (Your letters)

Posted: June 13, 2016
Originally Published: June 10, 2016

To the Editor:

Hanna Ring was 100 percent on the mark regarding GMO labeling on food products in her commentary. There is no reason for hesitation on the part of manufacturers and distributors to list this important information, especially in light of today's savvy consumer concerns about what goes into the foods we eat. There is even greater reason for New York legislators to pass a bill before federal action.

It is unfathomable U.S. lawmakers would introduce a bill to preclude states from enacting their own laws regarding GMO labeling, let alone passing it. Yet in spite of overwhelming public support for labeling foods with GMOs, Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, inexplicably followed the party line and voted to pass H.R. 1599, thereby agreeing to allow the federal government to preclude states from passing GMO laws. I can understand this "aye" vote from Katko if he reasons that a hodge-podge of confusing state laws on the subject would be counterproductive and cost prohibitive for manufacturers and distributors. But without definitive federal guidelines to ensure consumers know if a product has GMOs, Katko's vote is indefensible.

The real defining issue here is that Monsanto, the agriculture conglomerate, is contributing millions of dollars to congressional campaign committees to have this bill approved because it would effectively kill any GMO-labeling requirement forever. Fortunately, Ring notes, New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand helped block the senate version, sponsored by Sen. Pat Roberts, of Kansas, S. 2609, from being passed into law.

If large, responsible companies like General Mills and Kellogg's are willing to voluntarily label their products regarding GMOs, why not all companies? The labeling requirement cost would be miniscule, so why the objection? Consumers Union and other concerned groups like Ring's Citizens Campaign for the Environment are to be embraced for their strong opposition to this ridiculous and ill-conceived bill.

Ralph Torrillo Sr.