Julie Kelly writes for National Review that the anti-GMO movement “was dealt a major blow last week” with passage of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which eliminates “the state-by-state labeling patchwork that would serve to confuse consumers, stigmatize GMO crops, and raise food costs.”
Culinary crusaders boiled over. Opponents of the bill referred to it as the DARK Act, Denying Americans the Right to Know. Organic-industry leaders, who would hugely profit from the scarlet letters of a GMO label on non-organic products, lobbied heavily against the bill. “We are disappointed but not surprised that the majority of House members have sided with large chemical and food companies to protect corporate interests,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Organic and a major funder for various anti-GMO front groups. Celebrity chef and left-wing activist Tom Colicchio wrote that members of Congress were “actively trying to deny us the basic right to know what we are putting in our bodies.”
They also howled that Republicans were denying states’ rights, even though the bill will preempt a labeling law in only one state (Vermont, home to Democratic presidential candidate and ardent GM foe Bernie Sanders) while preventing a labyrinth of 50 different labeling requirements.
Did Congress overstep state powers with HR 1599? I’d argue that the law falls under Congress’ “weights and measures” clause. The market for food and produce is a national one, and has been for decades. Having a single measure for tomatoes grown in California and eaten in Vermont, and for ice cream made in Vermont and eaten in California, promotes trade amongst the several states and competition among producers. Or am I missing some state prerogative here?
As for Tom Colicchio, I respect the hell out of his cooking, but it’s obvious that he uses his celebrity status to use leftwing causes to appeal to his wealthier clientele.