Gwyneth Paltrow calls for GMO labeling

Gwyneth Paltrow calls for GMO labeling
© Greg Nash

 

 

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow joined advocates and lawmakers on the Hill Wednesday to push for the mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients, know as GMOs.
 
"I'm not here as an expert," Paltrow said. "I'm here as a mother, an American mother, that honestly believes I have the right to know what's in the food I feed my family."
 
The appearance from the Academy Award-winning actress and her actress mother Blythe Danner comes about two weeks after the House passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The bill, which has yet to be introduced in the Senate, would keep states from issuing their own mandatory labeling laws and create a federal standard for companies that want to voluntarily label their food.
 
Paltrow — escorted by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) — was at the Capitol Wednesday to gain more support for the petition the Just Label it Campaign generated last week that asks the U.S. Senate and President Obama to reject the House-passed bill opponents have renamed the "Denying Americans the Right to Know or DARK Act.

“Congress has long recognized that Americans should be given basic information about their food and trusted to make the right choices for their families,” the petition said. “We urge you to honor this longstanding tradition and reject H.R. 1599.” 

In just six days, Paltrow said the petition has gained 200,000 signatures.

“We would love to have, by the time the House comes back in September, a half million signatures,” she said.

Senate Democrats are instead pushing Boxer’s bill, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would require labels for all foods produced using genetically engineering ingredients and prohibit manufacturers from labeling genetically modified foods as natural. 

If the House bill, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced, is passed into law, Tester said the federal government would be telling states they can't make companies label for GMOs.

“The folks who voted for this bill are some of the same folks that talk about the supremacy of states' rights, but it seems like states’ rights don’t count when it comes to giving breaks to big corporations.”

Proponents, however, say the House bill will protect consumer choice, provide uniformity and transparency in food labeling, and protect American families from costly price hikes associated with a patchwork of state labeling laws. 

“Out of touch Hollywood celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow want Congress to enshrine their lifestyle choices into law while ignoring the everyday realities facing American families,” said Claire Parker, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food. “This legislation has earned the backing of everyone from farmers to food banks. We are confident the Senate will stand with science and American families rather than the extreme agendas of Hollywood elites and that common sense and scientific consensus will win out over media spectacle.”
 
The coalition said it’s unfortunate that the Just Label It campaign has chosen Paltrow as its lead spokesperson on this issue, given the fact that she has admitted to not knowing what it’s like to feed a family on a fixed budget.  
 
Critics point to Paltrow's failed attempt to feed herself for a week on food stamps. She reportedly gave up after four days.

When asked to respond to critics calling her an “out of touch Hollywood celebrity,” Sen. Boxer jumped to Paltrow's defense.

“It’s not worth answering that,” she said.

To which, Paltrow said, “My seniors have told me no.”

“When people try to ridicule you, whether you’re a United States senator, or a teacher, or a truck driver or an actress, they want to shut you down," Boxer said earlier in the event. "They want to make you go dark. That’ the point. If you weren’t effective, they wouldn’t bother with you.”