Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement on section 735 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. Section 735 requires the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a temporary permit allowing the cultivation of certain genetically engineered (GE) plants. This authority expires on September 30, 2013.
"As an advocate for transparency in our legislative process, and a proponent of labeling food containing GE products, I am disappointed that a special-interest GE protection provision was inserted by the Senate during consideration of this must-pass funding bill.
"The bill was designed to provide funding for the Department of Defense, as well as address domestic priorities like public safety, rural development, education, and food programs. I voted for this bill to protect our economy from another manufactured crisis, to prevent a Federal government shutdown this week, and to help ease the pain of across-the-board budget cuts.
"People deserve to know if their food is safe to eat, if they contain GE products, and the effect of GE crops on the environment. Consumers have the right to truthful, transparent information about their food.
"In Congress, I will continue to support efforts to strengthen consumer and environmental protections from GE crops, ensure adequate cultivation safeguards, and require labeling of GE foods. Labeling GE food products is essential in order for consumers to make informed and educated choices."