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So How Do The Presidential Candidates Stand On GMOs – Updated

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Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for genetic engineering and genetically engineered crops in a June 2014 paid address to the BIO International Convention in San Diego. She earned a standing ovation stating that the biotech industry suffers from a public perception problem and that it just needs “a better vocabulary” in order to persuade GMO skeptics who don’t understand “the facts” about genetic engineering. Clinton suggested there are unwarranted fears surrounding GMOs because many people do not understand science or biotechnology and are easily swayed by code words and misguided perceptions. “Genetically modified sounds ‘Frankensteinish’,” she said.

At an event in New Hampshire, she said, “I’m not going to eliminate all GMOs. I want to know more information. I want to have more facts in order to make decisions. Because in some cases, it is merited.”

On labeling she said, “There’s a right to know. You should be able to have the information that you can make your judgement about.” And added with one of GMO’s big cons: “There’s also a right to have the best science. You know, what is the science that is really at work here because there are a lot of advocates who fight hunger in Africa who are desperate for GMO seeds. Because they are drought-resistant. And they don’t know how else they’re going to get enough yield to feed people.” Her top campaign operative in Iowa is former Monsanto lobbyist Jerry Crawford. Both Monsanto and Dow Chemical Company have been big contributors to the Clinton Foundation.

Sen. Rand Paul voted against an amendment that would have allowed states to enact their own local laws regarding GMO labeling. He said mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms would hit the poorest hardest. “The labeling requirements are enormously expensive and just add to the cost of foods. Somebody who is poor can’t buy as much food because of requiring labels to be stuck on things.”

Sen. Ted Cruz voted against an amendment that would have allowed states to enact their own local laws regarding GMO labeling. Talking about GMO’s at an agriculture summit in March he said: “We need to stand up to the hysteria. For families, for parents, that don’t want to feed their kids GMOs, in the private marketplace, there has grown up an abundant market. You can go and purchase organic, if you want to pay more …We shouldn’t let anti-science zealotry shut down the ability to produce low-cost, quality food for billions across the globe.”

Donald Trump in October reposted a tweet from a follower blaming his trailing numbers in a Iowa poll on genetically modified corn that “creates issues in the brain.” “@mygreenhippo #BenCarson is now leading in the #polls in #Iowa. Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain? #Trump #GOP. He later blamed an intern for the tweetAn Iowa Farm Bureau survey asked: Do you support the use of biotechnology in food products and oppose efforts to require mandatory labeling for foods simply because they contain ingredients derived from biotechnology?… Trump responded  Yes.

Jeb Bush opposes GMO labeling. At an Iowa Ag Summit he announced we should celebrate GMOs. He said, GMOS allow farmers to deal with droughts and produce higher yields. “We should not try to make it harder for that kind of innovation to exist. We should celebrate it. I think that’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The Bush family connections to Monsanto include G.W Bush Sr. appointing former Monsanto attorney Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. And G.W. Jr. appointed former Monsanto official Linda Fisher to a top job at the EPA.

New Jersey’s Republican governor Chris Christie at the same summit, when asked if GMOs should be labeled he said no.

Wisconsin’s Republican governor Scott Walker also opposes GMO labeling. He said it gives the false impression it’s something different.

Dr. Ben Carson reported: ” I actually like for people to know what they’re buying.  I like for people to know what they’re eating. And I think it’s only fair for them to be able to see that, because people have different impressions about what they want to eat. There’s a lot of hype, quite frankly, and propaganda surrounding GMOs.  The fact of the matter is, as science progresses, and you know, we learn how to, you know, inject a gene for instance that will make a plant very unpalatable for certain pests, we’ll probably use that technology.  What we really have to do is be logical about it, and not be hysterical about it, and recognize that we do make progress.” And: “I am very respectful of people who say, “No.  I don’t want anything to do with this food, or that food that food. I am very sympathetic with the argument that they should be able to determine which kind of food that they’re eating.”

Sen. Marco Rubio voted against an amendment that would have allowed states to enact their own local laws regarding GMO labeling. He has dodged questions on his position.

South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham has been sharply critical of labeling for genetically modified food. He said GMO labeling is a backdoor way of putting farmers out of business.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee reported that science is consistently showing that GMOs are safe.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has tried to introduce federal legislation that would require food labeling for products with genetically engineered ingredients. “People have a right to know what is in the food they’re eating,” said Sanders. “Vermont and other states must be allowed to label GMO foods.”

“An overwhelming majority of Americans favor GMO labeling but virtually all of the major biotech and food corporations in the country oppose it,” Sanders said.

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