Heartland Institute Experts React to GMO Measures in Vermont, U.S. Senate

Published March 11, 2016

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) this week signed into a law a measure requiring labels on all genetically modified foods produced or sold within the state. The law goes into effect July 1. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) recently introduced legislation that would pre-empt state action, such as Vermont’s, and require the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for GMO foods.

The following statements from public policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.

“Mandatory GMO labeling is intended to scare folks from one of the greatest developments in human nutrition in our history. The movement is cleverly financed by the organic food industry and the usual culprits who do not want to advance civilization. Opponents of GMOs ignore the proof of the efficacy of genetic modification, as well as the fact it has not caused a single human illness. Meanwhile, tainted organic food has created numerous illnesses – such as the situation in Chipotle, and many other cases in recent decades.

“The public has enough real threats to be concerned about. It is time to take GMOs off that list.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“A national law preempting mandatory GMO labeling by states is warranted and certainly constitutionally sound. This rightly falls under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause because GMO foods are produced in various states and bought, shipped, and sold across state borders. Studies have repeatedly shown GMO foods and medicines to be as safe as or safer than their non-GMO counterparts, including those labeled organic.

“My one concern is that federal GMO legislation must not become a vehicle to expand the FDA’s or any other agency’s reach over GMOs, which are already the most thoroughly tested foods in the supermarket. Adding another agency with oversight power for the introduction of new GMO foods would simply delay approval and open up a new avenue for political interference with innovation in the food industry. It would also slow the development of healthy, environmentally superior foods.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.