The issue of food safety is becoming more and more important to the American public, as proved by the outrage last week when Congress passed the Monsanto Protection Rider.
My social media feed blew up with protestations. It was full of tweets like:
There was also the often retweeted Huffington post headline that declared “Monsanto Teams Up with Congress to Shred the Constitution.”
As with everything involving Congress and lobbyists, the truth is hard to untangle, especially since the so-called Monsanto Protection Rider was virtually ignored by the mainstream media like the New York Times and network news broadcasts.
Photo illustration of genetically modified produce via Shutterstock
Here are some facts:
Last week, the Monsanto Protection Rider was secretly attached to a federal funding bill to prevent the government from being shut down. So instead of Obama selling out the American public by making a backroom deal with Monsanto, it was Congress who attached this rider to a must-pass bill. If Obama had refused to sign the funding bill, the government would have ground to a halt. And since U.S. Presidents don’t have line-item veto power, he was left with little choice but to sign it.
Not only was the Monsanto Protection Rider, more formally known as section 735, attached to the must-pass HR 933 (Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act), but it was attached anonymously. Yes, apparently, your democratically elected congressperson can secretly attach riders to bills. In this case, the rider was attached in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Of course, it’s likely that the anonymous congressperson has a cozy relationship with pro-GMO lobbyists.
Depending on which news source you read, Monsanto either does (Huffington Post) or doesn’t (NPR) already have these protections, as the weakened USDA now has less resources to police the biotech industry.
Whatever your political leanings, most of us can agree that we want the seeds used to grow our food to be environmentally safe before being planted and harvested. The way things stand now, and what the Monsanto Protection Rider further cements, is that biotech companies can still sell their seeds even after a judicial ruling stopping the planting of a genetically modified crop.
How do you feel about the passage of this rider? Do you feel our food supply is less safe? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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