Just Label It Campaign Urges Congress to Dump the Biotech Rider

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2012) – A national campaign to defeat the biotech rider snuck into the Agriculture Appropriations Bill now before Congress has been launched by Just Label It, the national coalition spearheading federal labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food.

“The same chemical companies who just spent $46 million to defeat GE foods labeling in California are now focused on bullying Congress into doing their bidding,” said David Bancroft, Executive Director, Just Label It. “But the seemingly ‘farmer friendly’ rider they slipped into the Agriculture Appropriations Bill is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing and must be eliminated.”

The omnibus 2013 Appropriations Bill contains a biotech rider (section 733) that allows the planting of GE crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally. It forces the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to grant temporary permits and deregulations of GE crops even if a Federal court rules that USDA hadn’t adequately considered the environmental or economic risks to farmers. This negates any meaningful judicial review of USDA’s decisions to allow commercialization of GE crops.

If a GE crop approval was shown to violate the law and require further analysis of its harmful impacts (as several courts have concluded in recent years, e.g., GE alfalfa and GE sugar beets) this provision would override any court-mandated caution and allow continued planting and commercialization while further review takes place.

Further, it forces USDA to approve permits for such continued planting immediately, putting industry completely in charge by creating loophole approvals tailored to counter any “inconvenient” court decisions for the industry.

“The chemical companies may call this rider the ‘farmer’s assurance provision’, but the only assurance it offers is increased profits to chemical companies like Monsanto, not protection for America’s farmers or food consumers,” warned Bancroft.

As only a short period of time remains for Congress to resolve the Appropriations Bill before the end of the lame duck session, Just Label It is urging Americans to contact their representatives in the House to support the “Dear Colleague” letter opposing the biotech rider from Representative Peter DeFazio (D- Oregon, 4th ) and urge Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) to defeat the rider.

By going to the Just Label It website (www.justlabelit.org), people can instantly send an e-mail to their representatives in Washington urging them to defeat the biotech rider. They also can sign the petition urging the Federal Department of Agriculture to approve federal GE food labeling, which has more than 1.2 million signatures.


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