Senate Bill Could Steal Your Right to Know About GMOs

By Colin O’Neil, Agriculture Policy Director, Environmental Working Group

After Americans fought for years for the right to know about genetically modified organisms in our food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving forward on writing rules to implement the national mandatory GMO disclosure law President Obama signed last year. But a bill being debated in the Senate this week could quash our right to know about GMOs before the

USDA gets its mandatory disclosure standard off the ground.

Members of Congress who don’t like rules are trying to enact laws like the the so-called Regulatory Accountability Act, or RAA, which would require an endless loop of studies, court reviews and congressional approvals before departments like the USDA could adopt new rules.

The House has already passed its version of the bill. The Senate version would require that departments like the USDA put industry costs above consumer rights. It would also allow agribusiness lobbyists to challenge rules through so-called adversarial hearings, while simultaneously bogging down USDA staff with excessive red tape that could endlessly delay GMO disclosures from appearing on food packages.

The USDA has a lot of work to do to make sure that the mandatory GMO disclosure standard provides all consumers with the information they want, including for people who don’t have smartphones. But the RAA would make it nearly impossible for the USDA to finalize these rules.

We’ve waited long enough for GMO disclosures. Senators should reject the RAA.

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