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Oregon and the FDA - FDA tries to remove genetic label before it sticks

PORTLAND, Ore. -- In an unusual move, the federal government has warned the state of Oregon that it could be interfering with national food producers if voters pass a ballot measure requiring all genetically modified foods sold in the state to be labeled. If voters pass the measure Nov. 5, Oregon will be the first state to require labeling of so-called GE foods. Europe and Japan already require genetically modified crop labeling on food items.
Oregon and the FDA - FDA tries to remove genetic label before it sticks
Date: 10/9/02; Publication: USA Today; Author: Elizabeth Weise

PORTLAND, Ore. -- In an unusual move, the federal government has warned the state of Oregon that it could be interfering with national food producers if voters pass a ballot measure requiring all genetically modified foods sold in the state to be labeled.

The unsolicited letter, which arrived Monday in the office of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, says the measure "would impermissibly interfere with manufacturers' ability to market their products on a nationwide basis."

[Actually, this would only reflect what the consumer wants to buy and know about, correct? This is only feedback on what markets these corporations should be serving. Are you saying that public servant corporations should be immune to consumer wishes, should be allowed to tell the consumer what to consume, eh? ;-) Interesting unsolicited letter/threat from the corporate toadies at the FDA.]

The letter was signed by Food and Drug Administration deputy commissioner Lester Crawford.

As much as 80% of the foods found in a typical American supermarket contain at least one ingredient created from genetically engineered crops. Backers of the measure don't claim the foods are dangerous, but they say consumers should be able to make informed choices. Critics say labeling is expensive and will force one label for Oregon foods, a different one elsewhere. [Corporations are public servants correct? Fulfill the market instead of telling consumers what to consume. What is their problem?]

If voters pass the measure Nov. 5, Oregon will be the first state to require labeling of so-called GE foods. Europe and Japan already require labeling.

The FDA letter now inserts a federal interest in what to this point had been a brewing state fight.

Still, Measure 27 is the subject of intense interest far beyond Oregon s borders. Food suppliers and processors argue that if they lose in Oregon, they'll face unjust suspicion from consumers that the foods aren't safe and the prospect of labeling laws in other states.

"In this letter, we are not promising to take action, but we are letting the people of Oregon know, as best we can, what our views are about the ordinance," a senior FDA official said.

The FDA statement appears to allude to the commerce clause of the Constitution, which prohibits states from impeding the flow of interstate commerce, says Jonathan Adler, a professor of environmental and constitutional law at Case Western Reserve University law school in Cleveland. [Well, THE COMMERCE CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE CHANGED TO MAKE CONSUMPTION MORE SUSTAINABLE THEN to support state level localized consumptoin instead of corporate monocropping.]

The governor's press secretary, Tom Towslee, says the governor was surprised to get the letter. "For the federal government to weigh in on a ballot measure in little old Oregon is a little unusual, but they obviously feel strongly about it," Towslee says.

The two-page letter also states that the FDA has found that, in its scientific judgment, there "is no significant difference" between bioengineered foods and their conventional counterparts.

[Erroneous! The FDA is lying to you, attempting to tell you that 'science has shown it to be safe. However, the FDA and USDA have 'grandfathered' many chemicals and GM crops into a G.R.A.S. category--Generally Recognized As Safe--without actually doing any scientific studies period in the United States. They are lying: simply a bunch of crooked bureaucrats looking out for corporate polluters and keeping the citizens from getting feedback to the corporations.]

Donna Harris, who launched the campaign to get the initiative on the ballot, doesn't buy it. "If they're the same as everything else, then how come they have a patent on them?"


Elizabeth Weise, FDA tries to remove genetic label before it sticks. ,
USA Today, 10-09-2002, pp 07D.
Typical right wing hypocrisy 15.Oct.2002 22:48

mrraven

The radical right in America claims to be for "states rights," unless it's Oregon's medical marijuana laws, right to die with dignity, or GMO labeling laws, then suddenly it's bring on the Federal Leviathan. Hyporitic too is the claim to be against big government unless it's spending as much on military imperialism as the next 25 nations combined. Isn't it time northern Cali, Oregon, and Washington state op out of this bullshit and form eco-topia?

ecodopia 16.Oct.2002 02:03

jennifer garnish

ecotopia should spread its wings a bit further; surely Nevada would like to join as the feds try to ram the nuclear dump down their throats; and what about all those tax resistors and Mormons in Utah; surely then Idaho and Montana would sign up, too. And while we're at it, why not have Beautiful British Columbia join as well; they're certainly marching to a different drummer than Ottawa.

I think it might be doable... in your dreams.