Known as the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the GMO labeling bill would require genetically engineered foods to be clearly labeled. Overwhelmingly popular with Americans (90% support compulsory labeling of genetically modified foods), GMO labeling is unpopular among big agribusinesses.
The bill can already count on nine bipartisan Senate co-sponsors, along with 22 cosponsors in the House. That wide base of support may give the new legislation a better shot.
Meanwhile, President Obama approved a temporary spending bill this week that averted a government shutdown but also riled a slew of groups that say one provision protects Monsanto and other makers of genetically modified seeds and crops from federal courts.
The biotech rider, dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act, was included in spending bill HR 933. It essentially requires the Agriculture Department to approve the growing, harvesting and selling of such crops, even if the courts rule environmental studies are incomplete. The U.S. government now has no judicial power to stop them from being planted and harvested.