Last week the U.S. House subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry passed new language added to the 2007 Farm Bill that would bar states or localities from prohibiting any food or agricultural product that the USDA has deregulated. The new language reads:
SEC. 123. EFFECT OF USDA INSPECTION AND DETERMINATION OF NON-REGULATED STATUS.Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no State or locality shall make any law prohibiting the use in commerce of an article that the Secretary of Agriculture has—(1) inspected and passed; or(2) determined to be of non-regulated status.
The primary intent of this passage is to deny local or state rights to regulate genetically engineered crops or food (only GE crops are given "non-regulated status"). This would wipe out the restrictions passed by voters in four California counties and two cities, and could limit the powers of the California Rice Certification Act and its ability to prohibit the introduction of GE rice varieties. Local and state laws pertaining to GE crops have also been passed in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. All of these democratically enacted laws are threatened by this language.
The biotech industry and big agribusiness have been trying to push similar bills in dozens of states across the country, and also at the Federal level with last year’s so-called “Food Uniformity” bill. Now they want to sneak it into a committee hearing and hide it in the Farm Bill.
Take Action! Contact the House Agriculture Committee