Scientific issues have always been a matter of controversy when it comes to politicians and the 2016 elections are no different. Just like Climate Change has taken a backseat on these politicians’ agendas, the same is true about GMO labeling concerns. Here is what we know so far about the 2016 presidential candidates' positions on GMOs:
Hillary Clinton has always had close ties with Monsanto. These ties run a lot deeper today as she has seemingly hired a former GMO lobbyist as her campaign director–a move that kicked up quite a backlash with some activitists labeling her as “The Bride of FrankenFood”. Hillary has strongly advocated that GMO food needs a better image. She also voiced her opinion that these foods are grossly misunderstood and that we need to rethink them. Why then does Clinton seem so adamant about eating organic when it comes to her own dinner plate? According to the Organic Consumers Association, (read their article here), the entire Clinton family has always insisted on organic home grown meals many of which are grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Clinton's other connections to GMOs include: She worked for The Rose Law Firm in the 1980s, which represents both Monsanto and Tyson Foods. And, Mark Penn, who served as CEO for one the world's largest public relations firms, Burson-Marsteller, which has also represented Monsanto, was a White House advisor under Bill Clinton and served as chief strategist and pollster to Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign.
In 2013, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation that would allow people to know what is in their food. “When you take on very powerful biotech companies like Monsanto and large food corporations, who, in many ways, would prefer that people not know what is in the food that they produce, they’re very powerful,” said Sanders. “They were able to gather a whole lot of support in the Senate.” Sanders also said the company (Monsanto), and others like it, need to be more transparent, and that slipping protection for it into that March Farm Bill was wrong. “People have a right to know what is in the food they’re eating,” said Sanders.
Had it passed, Sanders Amendment #965 would have allowed states to reserve rights for GMO labeling so that companies like Monsanto and DuPont cannot sue them. “Monsanto and other major corporations should not get to decide this (states requiring clear labeling of GMOs), the people and their elected representatives should”, said Senator Sanders.
Senator Bernie Sanders represents Vermont, the first state in the nation to pass a "right to know" GMO labeling law.
There is no quote that shows this Democrat candidate supports GMO directly, but the very fact that he voted against fellow democrat presidential aspirant Bernie Sander’s amendment that would require food companies to mandatorily label their products as containing GMO shows that he seems to be in favor of Monsanto and other agro chemical giants. Read detailed article here.
Rand Paul also slammed mandatory GMO labeling telling that this move would hit the poor the hardest. He cited that the labeling requirements would add an enormous expense adding to the cost of the foods. Here is his exact response as to why he voted against the labeling amendment: “I am an opponent of the FDA's war on natural foods and farmers. I've stood up for raw milk, hemp and natural supplements. I fought to take power AWAY from the government on these issues. So while there is evidence we should be concerned about GMOs, we should also be careful not to lose our constitutional perspective simply because the end result is one we may desire. That's what we fight against. That's what the statists do. Take a look at a pretty thorough rundown on the recent GMO amendment. There were many more problems with it, including the potential the FDA could have assumed broad new rule making authority if this badly written amendment had passed. - Sen. Rand Paul. Read the entire interview here. We don’t know for sure if the presidential candidate eats organic himself. But he recently did tweet a photo of himself eating Tacos and In-N-Out burgers.
Donald Trump has remained neutral so far on the GMO issue, but we know for a fact that he and his family eat fresh organic foods only. According to this piece on Natural News, Ivanka Trump often prepares fresh organic meals for the Trump family. Also the food served at Trump hotels is gluten free and organic and often supervised by family members. As far as possible, these hotels also source locally grown foods. However, eating and serving organic food privately has not historically translated into voting for GMO labeling rights for the public.
Jeb loves GMOs according to the article here. He went on to call GMO “the greatest high tech invention sector of America’s economy”. However, according to this article, Jeb is following the Paleolithic era (Paleo for short) diet which itself insists on organic, grass fed meat products to lose weight. Double standards, much?
Ben Carson has never held elected office and does not have an official position on GMOs or GMO labeling. We do know, however, that he has spent much of his career on the board of companies that are pro-GMO. He says, "I do have corporate board experience with 18 years with Kellogg and 16 years with Costco, as well as a biotech company.”
Marco Rubio has not made a public comment on GMO but he was one of the 71 senators who voted against the GMO labeling amendment.
His remark: “Don’t let anti science zealotry shutdown GMOs” is famous enough. We do not know whether he himself prefers Organic food but he has publically stated that people can eat organic all they like but they should push back on the hysteria surrounding food made using GMOs and that these innovations should be celebrated both at home and abroad.
Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, says, "Americans deserve real solutions for the economic, social and environmental crises we face. But the broken political system is only making things worse." Her Green New Deal would create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and invest in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation. Jill Stein is a strong proponent of labeling GMOs and putting a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe to protect the rights of future generations.
Almost every politician seems to be in bed with Monsanto and GMOs, except Bernie Sanders who has won a lawsuit against the Agrotech giant and also has had the GMO labeling amendment passed in his state and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.
If you wish candidates would wear the logos of the corporations that fund them, like Nascar, you might like this shirt. Sales benefit March Against Monsanto organizers: