What’s money when you’ve got it to burn? Hollywood celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t answer that question yesterday when she appeared on Capitol Hill to lobby for mandatory labeling of what scientists overwhelmingly agree is one the safest products in the world – genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Paltrow was joined by her mother and fellow actress Blythe Danner and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to oppose the bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The act, which has yet to pass the Senate, would ban states from enforcing mandatory GMO labeling.
If Paltrow’s efforts succeed, ordinary Americans could feel the impact in their pocketbook. A study by an economist at Cornell University found that a scenario of patchwork mandatory labeling across the states could result in an average family of four paying $500 a year more in additional food costs.
The star-studded ensemble that graced the Capitol is demanding the legislation be scrapped and all food containing GMOs is labeled as such. The problem for the celebrity campaigners is that there have been zero cases of anyone getting sick from foods containing GMOs.
Over the last 10 years, more than 1,700 studies have been conducted examining GMO foods — all of which found they were safe to eat. The question opponents of Paltrow and the Just Label It campaign ask is why should companies be forced to identify and label something that has already been labeled safe for consumption?
Furthermore, a GMO label wouldn’t tell the consumer anything about how the food was grown. Indeed, producers that use no GMOs will still have the freedom to mark their goods as “GMO-free.”
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which has been leading the charge in support of the legislation calls it a “uniform, a science-based standard for GMO labeling.”
But Paltrow is unlikely to be shaken from her pro-GMO label stance. Not one for understatement, she has said she would rather “smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.” She has even gone so far as to say she would prefer to “die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup.” However, the Iron Man actress and lifestyle guru is not alone in the tradition of celebrities backing causes widely considered to reside on the lunatic fringe.
While not supporting mandatory GMO labeling, some experts do worry the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act could endanger successful voluntary initiatives.
Baylen Linnekin, chief executive of Keep Food Legal told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “calls for mandatory GMO labeling are misguided. But so, he said, is the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The law would create a large new bureaucracy within the USDA and usurp ongoing, successful, voluntary private labeling efforts like the Non-GMO Verified Project.
“The government should not be pro-GMO. It should not be anti-GMO. And it most certainly shouldn’t bow to the wishes of celebrities,” he added.
This report, by Guy Bentley, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.