Comment: Forcing positive labeling bad, allowing negative labeling good

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Forcing positive labeling bad, allowing negative labeling good

Positive labeling is what this particular bill is trying to do: force all companies that use GMO to put it on the label. There is a serious debate about the use of GMO products in our food, and some consumers are against consuming products that contain GMO. Forcing companies that use GMO in their products to put it on the label would serve the purpose of alerting the consumer to the presence of GMO in the product. However, from a true libertarian perspective, this bill violates the non-aggression principle. Constitutionally, the Federal Government has no authority to demand particular labeling of products from companies. So, this bill fails on at least two fronts.

A better solution is negative labeling. Negative labeling is used to provide information to a discriminating consumer regarding the non-use of a particular ingredient, in this case GMO. So if my company makes corn chips using only non-GMO corn, I put that information on the label. This policy was adopted by most states regarding the use of rBST in milk, and the labeling of the milk. The outcome? Negative labeling led to consumer pressure (ie buying habits) on Walmart to sell only milk from cows not injected with rBST. However, Monsanto and the dairy farmers using Monsanto's rBST injections fought the use of negative labeling, saying it misled the consumer into thinking there was "good" milk and "bad" milk. The consumer won that battle, but we are losing the GMO battle. Once again, Monsanto is teaming up with growers and food producers who use GMO to lobby the FDA to not allow ANY labeling regarding GMO, positive or negative. To date, the FDA has come down hard on companies using negative labeling regarding GMO usage. I see this bill as a flawed legislative countermeasure to infringement of the Executive Branch, via the FDA, in establishing federal law through bureaucratic rulemaking. A better solution, constitutionally and from a libertarian perspective, would be to make a law forbidding the FDA from regulating negative labeling.