Tell Your Representative to Strike the King Amendment from the Farm Bill!
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I see that Rep. Steve King has added an amendment to the Farm Bill, which is now waiting on the floor of the House for a vote. The King Amendment would "reinforce the Commerce Clause by asserting the right of a state to trade agriculture products freely with another state. One state cannot deny the trade of an agricultural product from another state based on that product's means of production." First of all, this amendment is redundant at best. This does nothing to "reinforce" the Commerce Clause, and it doesn't need reinforcing anyway. At worst, however, the amendment is a potential weapon against GMO labeling laws on the state level: the language is focused on "agricultural products" and "means of production." A state that requires GMO labeling on its food, it could be argued, creates a trade barrier between a state that does not require GMO labeling. This could run up against the dormant commerce clause, which limits individual state authority to regulate intrastate commerce even in the absence of a conflicting federal law. This is nothing more than a back-door way of dissuading states from passing labeling laws. It could prevent states from banning GMO products altogether. There are significant differences between natural foods and their genetically engineered versions which may not be apparent at first glance. There have been safety issues with other genetically modified organisms which have become more pronounced over time. Consider, for example, the new study from Russia, which has found that hamsters fed GM soy become sterile by the third generation -- and in some cases start growing hair inside their mouths. Effects that show up so late underscore the need for a prudential approach. Hamsters are not human, but do we really want to discover that our grandchildren are sterile? Or consider the study which showed that Filipinos who ate GM corn developed a resistance to the antibiotic ampicillin as a result. When it comes to my family's health and well-being, nothing is more important than protecting them from potential danger. The fact is, no one can tell what will happen to us as a result of eating genetically engineered products. Because of this, America's consumers must be allowed to exercise a conscious choice about the food we buy. We must be told if something is genetically modified or not. Those for whom GMO foods are not an issue can buy the product to their heart's content -- but those of us who want our families to have other choices need that label so we can make an informed decision! Please preserve our freedom of choice. As your constituent, I ask you to create or support an amendment to strike the King Amendment from the House Farm Bill!
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