Friday, September 20, 2013

Bryan Endres Compares Illinois SB 1666 to GMO Food Labeling Laws in the EU on the Mike Nowak Show

by Mike Nelson

On September 16, Prof. Bryan Endres, Interim Associate Provost for International Affairs and Interim Director of International Programs and Studies, discussed Illinois SB 1666, a proposed law in Illinois that would require mandatory GMO food labeling in Illinois, on the Mike Nowak Show. He was joined by Jessica Fujan, Midwest Organizer for Food & Water Watch, and Megan Klein, Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council. Radio host Mike Nowak interviewed the three experts.

Endres, Associate Professor of Agricultural Law, testified about the legality of the proposed law on June 20. During the radio interview, he reiterated the constitutionality of food labeling. Endres noted that similar laws, such as mandatory warning labels on tobacco products, have been allowed by the courts. The biotech industry argues that their products would become criminalized through food labeling, yet the speakers found that the labeling of peanuts for allergies and also of products with trans fat did not significantly reduce sales.

GMO laws in the European Union were a case study cited by Endres and the other interviewees. Not only is GMO labeling more common in the EU, but many member states restrict even the initial production of GMOs. Endres commented that there are not significant differences surrounding food prices in the U.S. and Europe, but European consumers have more control because of the knowledge gained by GMO labeling.

Endres’ interview continued the European Union Center’s dialogue on GMOs. In April, professor Gerhart Ryffel from the University of Duisburg-Essen came to campus and gave a lecture entitled, “The GMO Debate: European and US Perspectives on the Science Behind the Precautionary Principle.” Read a graduate student’s response to the lecture here.

The conversation on GMO food labeling in Illinois from the Mike Nowak Show can be listened to in its entirety here or in the player below.

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