Would you believe Monsanto is in favor of a federal GMO labeling law? It’s true. Robb Fraley, chief technology officer, Monsanto Company, issued a statement this week saying Monsanto strongly supports a national approach to voluntarily label products that may be made from genetically modified ingredients.
The move is surprising on one hand, but not on the other. Why is it surprising? You wouldn’t think Monsanto would want GMOs labeled. They want to kill everyone and everything, right? They are the great Satan trying to destroy the world secretly, or not so secretly as some have come to believe.
On the other hand, many agriculture companies have been coming out in favor of a voluntary federal GMO labeling law. That space seems to be the happy medium that the industry has decided on.
“I also have come to understand how critical labels are to consumers’ decisions about food,” Fraley wrote in describing how he came to his decision. “People depend on those labels for accurate, relevant information about safety and health factors. That is why I believe a federal standard to establish consistent, nationwide guidelines for how companies label their products as containing GMOs would provide the kind of clarity and uniformity that American consumers deserve.”
The debate over GMOs in food is contentious as consumers and activists have demanded labeling by trying to pass state-by-state labeling laws. The first of which would go into effect July 1 in Vermont. The Senate recently failed to pass a federal voluntary GMO labeling law, which would have prevented the Vermont law from going into effect.
It remains to be seen if any legislation can be taken before July 1 that would stop the state law from going into effect.
The ag industry seems to have come around from a couple of years ago when it vehemently fought against GMO labeling bills in other states to realize that GMO labeling is more likely to happen eventually than not and that consumers want and need to know this information. Even Monsanto now recognizes the need for transparency in food labels and a system that is workable for everyone.