Wyoming is attempting to endorse genetically modified foods (or GMOs) as safe. It would pressure Congress to pass more legislature to state that regulating GMOs would fall on the shoulders of the federal agencies, not the states’.
Producers of GMOs are currently quaking in their shoes because the bill would force them to label the products as GMO, which they are not required to do right now.
It would be nationwide, giving the nation a level playing field. People are also considering that it may be necessary to offer labeling that tells where the plant was grown, such as in Wyoming, Canada, or Colorado.
For example, despite the objections of organic farmers, the federal government in 2012 approved the use of Monsanto Co.’s “Roundup Ready” sugar beets – a variety that’s engineered to withstand exposure to the company’s popular glyphosate herbicide called Roundup. The beets are grown in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and other states.
A laboratory study in human cells shows that very low levels of glyphosate (the main chemical ingredient of Roundup herbicide, which most GM crops are engineered to tolerate) mimicked the hormone estrogen and stimulated the growth of breast cancer cells. The level of glyphosate that had this effect was below the level allowed in drinking water in Europe and far below the level allowed in the USA. It was also below the level found in GM glyphosate-tolerant soy, which is imported into Europe for animal feed and human food. If confirmed in animal studies, this finding would overturn regulatory assumptions of safe levels of glyphosate.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a France-based research arm of the World Health Organization, this spring labeled glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance. The French government later banned the sale of Roundup at garden centers.
Monsanto, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, strongly disagreed with the WHO’s determination.
“All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health,” said Monsanto’s Phil Miller, global head of regulatory and government affairs, in a statement this spring.
The resolution pending before the Wyoming legislative committee states that foods grown with genetically engineered ingredients are as safe to eat as foods grown without them.
Many of the largest players in the nation’s food and agriculture industries are assembling to support the bill that cleared the U.S. House in July and is now pending in the Senate. The industries are anxious to avoid seeing individual states establish their own labeling requirements for GMOs.
The Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands, and Water Resources Interim Committee will consider the resolution in the next week in Afton. Committee Co-chairman Sen. Gerald Geis, R-Worland, says he expects the measure will pass in committee and head to the full Legislature early next year.