GMO Ban In Los Angeles Losing Support, Regulation Might Be Dead

A GMO ban in Los Angeles is reportedly losing support, and may not happen at all. Just three days before local lawmakers were slated to vote on a ban on all genetically-modified crops, a massive lobbying effort was embarked upon by a biotech trade group.

The GMO ban had easily made its way through the initial stages of approval by Los Angeles officials previously, with only one city council member reportedly expressing any doubt about its passage. When the Los Angeles City Council sat down in late December to discuss the GMO ban once again, three of the five voting members uttered opposition. However, all said the biotech lobbying efforts had nothing to do with their change of heart.

“Since nothing else has changed [except biotech lobbying] it clearly was heavy lobbying,” Los Angeles Councilman, Paul Koretz, who proposed the GMO ban, said.

The genetically engineered crops ban in the California city would be “largely symbolic,” according to the Los Angeles Times, because no known GMO crops are being raised in the city. Urban gardening and container gardening have become increasingly popular activities, though exactly what type of seeds are used in such endeavors in the city remains virtually unknown.

Biotech lobbyist George Keiffer said this about the proposed GMO ban, “The city is going to be better off making a decision with a lot of information, rather than just emotion. Their statement, if they choose to make it, will be just as important in three months as it is today.”

The pending GMO ban in Los Angeles is not the only ongoing legal effort related to genetically modified crops. A GMO labeling ban bill was introduced in Congress last year that would put the federal government in charge of supervising the labeling of all food products with genetically modified ingredients – and would ban states from requiring labeling.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, as the GMO labeling bill is called, would mandate that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conduct a safety product review before a food enters the open market. On its face, this may sound like a decent attempt at ensuring the safety of the American food supply, but first impressions are not always accurate. Since the FDA, USDA, and EPA have absolutely no problem approving nearly all GMO crops and herbicides which come up for review now, the bill will have little to no impact for those concerned about eating only naturally grown food. The FDA, no doubt, will approve all or nearly all GMO foods.

President Obama has appointed a host of former Monsanto executives to key leadership posts in the USDA, FDA, and the EPA. Republican Kansas Representative Mike Pompeo, the bill’s sponsor, seemed to acknowledge that GMO foods would be approved as safe.

“Dozens of states,” Representative Pompeo wrote in a column for The Wichita Eagle, “are considering legislation that would require warning labels on food products containing ingredients derived from biotechnology, or GMOs. These ingredients, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets, are absolutely safe.”

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