Ayotte has taken more than $10,000 from Monsanto despite overwhelming support in New Hampshire for GMO labelling, reports Food Democracy Now!
Concord, NH – Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is being featured on a new billboard advertisement highlighting the amount of campaign money she has accepted from the agri-giant, Monsanto. Ayotte, running in a tough re-election against Governor Maggie Hassan (D-NH), has taken more than $10,000 from the St. Louis-based biotech seed and chemical giant despite overwhelming support in New Hampshire for genetically modified organisms (GMO) labelling.
The billboards are traveling around New Hampshire this week, stopping in Manchester, Portsmouth and Nashua. The campaign is sponsored and paid for by Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots community of more than 650,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects the natural environment, sustains farmers and nourishes families.
In a statewide survey conducted in 2013, 90% of people polled in New Hampshire believed that they have the right to know if their food contains GMOs. This mirrors national polls that consistently find 90% of Americans support on package labelling of GMO food.
“New Hampshire consumers are looking to Senator Ayotte to stand up for our right to know what is in the food we feed our families,” said Gene Jonas, owner of Hungry Bear Farm in Wilton, New Hampshire.
Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now! explained why his group has chosen to target Senator Ayotte. “Despite the overwhelming support for GMO labelling in her state and across the country, Senator Ayotte continues to do Monsanto’s bidding. In March, she voted for a bill being pushed by them that would have taken away states rights to pass common sense GMO labelling laws.”
Supporting a strong national GMO labelling standard does not require Ayotte to take a position on the question of the health or environmental implications of GMOs. Mandatory labelling of GMOs, such as the Vermont law scheduled to go into effect on July 1, will not ban GMOs, increase hardship to farmers or reduce the number of offerings at the grocery store.
As the clock ticks down to implementation of the Vermont law, Monsanto and other big food and agriculture groups continue to pressure Congress to stop Vermont’s historic labelling law from taking effect. Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are attempting to negotiate a compromise before Congress breaks for recess.
“Food Democracy Now! is asking New Hampshire voters to contact Senator Ayotte and urge her to oppose any federal mandate that would delay implementation of the law in Vermont or preempt the rights of other states,” said Murphy. “Congress should not replace existing clear, on-package labelling laws with a national standard that would allow producers to label GMOs with intentionally deceptive "QR codes", telephone call-in numbers or a symbol.”
First published: Food Democracy Now!, 20 June 2016