BOISE -- About 50 people gathered in front of Senator Mike Crapo's Boise office to protest his 'no' vote on a controversial amendment to Congress' 2012 Farm Bill -- a measure that would have given states the right to allow mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.
The senate rejected the amendment in a June 21st vote.
Both Senator Crapo and Senator Risch voted 'no' on the amendment, and 'no' on the farm bill, which was eventually passed by the U.S. Senate in a vote of 64 to 35.
Jenny Easley, the organizer of Wednesday's protest, said consumers have a right to know what is in their food.
Protesters gather at Sen. Mike Crapo's Boise office
"We think consumers have a right to know what they are eating. so we are here today to let Senator Crapo know that we're unhappy with his decision," said Easley, a member of the group GMO-Free Idaho.
Senator Crapo released a statement in response to the protest:
“I understand the concerns expressed by many who oppose genetically engineering food products and seek mandatory labeling for foods containing GE ingredients. However, I am also aware of the many benefits provided by GE crops, including increased yields and nutrition and reduced pesticides and herbicides used in the environment. The only vote in the United States Senate to date requiring mandatory labeling for these food products, an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, was defeated by a vote of 73-26.
The United States has one of the safest and most abundant food supplies in the world. Consumer safety and a robust agricultural sector need not be mutually exclusive. GE food products are a relatively new development in commercial food production, and I agree that it is important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.”
Here is Senator Risch's statement:
"There are federal laws already in place to make certain our food is safe. There was no need to add this amendment, and in fact, it was rejected in bipartisan fashion with 73 "no" votes when it came up for consideration."