To the Editor:
Congress is poised to vote on a trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that if passed, would seriously undermine the safety of our food. The TPP would eliminate our ability to know what's in our food, where it comes from, or whether it contains genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). If Congress passes this trade deal, any U.S. food safety rule on pesticides, labeling, or additives that is higher than international standards would be challenged as an "illegal trade barrier."
What does this mean for us? Vermont passed legislation requiring the identification of foods containing GMOs. We will most likely be sued because our labeling law will constitute an "illegal trade barrier;" one of these corporations can claim that their "expected future profits" will be affected by our GMO labeling law. Amazingly, a food company does not need to prove that their earnings decreased as a result of our labeling law; they merely need to claim that their "expected" profits will be affected.
And, we will lose the case because it won't be tried in any court. The case will be heard by a panel of three hand-picked corporate lawyers; the proceedings will be secret and closed to the public; and there is no appeal. Vermont will lose and we, the taxpayers, will be forced to pay the bill and lose our labeling rights.
As absurd as all this sounds, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is very real, and unless we do something to stop it, it will become the law. Join us at Burr & Burton Academy, in the Hunter Seminar Room, on Friday evening, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. to hear more about the TPP and what to do about it.
Bill and Lisa Laberge; Ron Dundon; Dana LaRose; Heather Thomas; Rich Thompson-Tucker; Theo Talcott; Carol and Steve Berry; Chris Anderson; and Carl Bucholt.
On behalf of Transition Town Manchester