In a talk with farmers at the Mid Kansas Cooperative, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo said that there’s no need for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods to be labeled for a couple of reasons.
First, labeling is generally reserved for truly unsafe products such as tobacco. Second, "Every study that's been done shows that there is no health or safety risk connected to genetically modified organisms. None, zero. There is no peer reviewed study that counters that." he says.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015--a bill co-sponsored by Pompeo--would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to label GMO foods only “if necessary”. If the bill is not signed, states and cities will continue to assume responsibility for coming up with their own rules for labeling GMOs.
However, says, Pompeo, if rules are instituted by both state and local governments, local farmers will have a hard time keeping up with all the different statutes, not to mention the increased costs that will no doubt accompany GMO labeling.
"Any time you require that food chain be broken into smaller and smaller pieces that have to be segregated and handled differently it will slow it down and make it more expensive." says Tom Page, a farmer in Butler County, KS. He maintains that food in the U.S. is affordable because the process of getting it from farm to table is fairly efficient. Too many rules in relation to GMO labeling will change that, he believes.
According to Pompeo, the GMO labeling bill will not prohibit anyone from buying non-GMO foods. However, he does think that consumers could end up paying up to $850 more per year in increased food costs associated with new GMO labeling--if his bill does not become law.
"I think it's very important that there be a single set of rules for the food chain in the United States and it's equally important that that set of rules be grounded in science and not in someone's emotions or perhaps political agenda."
Pompeo’s Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July and is currently awaiting a Senate vote.