retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), issued the following statement today in response to the defeat of a ballot initiative in Washington State that would have mandated the labeling of genetically modified ingredients in food:

"We are pleased that the voters of Washington State rejected I-522 by a significant margin. I-522 was a complex and costly proposal that would have misled consumers, raised the price of groceries for Washington families and done nothing to improve food safety.
"The food and beverage industry is committed to providing consumers with a wide array of safe and affordable food and beverage choices.  Genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe, good for the environment, reduce the cost of food and help feed a growing global population of seven billion.
"Because a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws would be confusing and costly to consumers, GMA will advocate for a federal solution that will protect consumers by ensuring that the FDA, America's leading food safety authority, sets national standards for the safety and labeling of products made with GMO ingredients. Our country’s labeling laws have been and should continue to be based on health, safety and nutritional content.
"We will continue to oppose individual state efforts to impose mandatory labeling of products made with GMO technology, as well as advocate for the safe and effective use of this important technology to increase the food supply while lowering cost. And we will continue to engage in an informative dialogue with our consumers on the safety, prevalence and benefits of that technology."
KC's View:
I have no argument with the idea that a federal approach to the GMO labeling issue makes more sense than a patchwork of state mandates. And so, based on GMA's statement, I eagerly await the phalanx of lobbyists - paid transparently by donor dollars - that now will descend on Washington, DC, and push for a national GMO labeling solution. Since GMA, on behalf of its members, is said to have spent close to $4 million to defeat a ballot initiative in one state, I'm assuming it will spend a proportional amount to lobby for a federal solution.

Unless, of course, what GMA really wants is a federal solution that can be summed up in one term: Laissez-faire.