For the past week, there has been outrage in the food safety community because of the passage and ultimate signing by President Obama of the “Monsanto Protection Act,” a controversial provision that ended up being included in a continuing resolution to keep the government to the end of the fiscal year. The provision prevents federal courts from being able to block the sale or planting of genetically modified seeds and plants, no matter what consequences may be revealed in the future about genetically modified seed. Genetically engineered or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are banned in many European countries as food ingredients and have been the subject the subject of studies showing a possible genetic effect on humans.
Since the “Monsanto Protection Act” has passed, over a quarter million people have signed petitions in opposition to the provision. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) has apologized for the provision publicly with her office issuing a public statement, “Senator Mikulski understands the anger over this provision. She didn’t put the language in the bill and doesn’t support it either…”
Monsanto has a reputation of abusive practices in Latin America. In Argentina, Monsanto introduced transgenic soy that has damaged soil and allowed herbicide resistant weeds to flourish. In Mexico, small farmers and environmental activists have protested against Monsanto’s attempt to take over the corn crop, which is a staple in the Mexican diet. The company has also posted huge profits in large part to its business selling genetically engineered seeds in the region.
Here is the vote breakdown of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members and how they voted on H.R. 933, the continuing resolution that included the provisions being called the “Monsanto Provision Act.” Most of the CHC members supported it:
Menendez (D-NJ) – yea
Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Negrete McLeod (D-CA)
Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA)
Lujan, Ben Ray (D-NM)
Sanchez, Linda (D-CA)
Note: Many of the GOP Latino members do not normally caucus with the CHC.