Politics of the Plate: Nothing’s the Matter with Kansas

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has shown that if she’s confirmed at a top FDA post, she’ll likely push for the interests of ordinary citizens—not Big Food.

Therefore, pursuant to Article 2, Section 14 of the Constitution of the State of Kansas, I veto HB 2121.

—Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius

With those words, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius showed the nation whose interests she will represent when she takes up her post as head of the Department of Health and Human Services: ordinary citizens.’

A clause slipped at the last minute into Bill 2121, which deals mainly with regulations on agricultural chemicals, would have required the following wording on dairy products whose labels indicate the milk came from cows not injected with the genetically engineered artificial growth hormone rBST: The FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rBST-supplemented cows. Saying in a release that the bill “could make it more difficult to provide consumers with clear information,” Sebelius elaborated, “The milk labeling provisions negatively impact a dairy producer’s ability to inform consumers that milk is from cows not treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBST). Supporters of the bill claim it’s necessary to protect consumers from false or misleading information. Yet there has been overwhelming opposition by consumer groups, small dairy producers and retailers to this proposed legislation.”

The future boss of the FDA acting on behalf of consumers and small farmers—how refreshing.

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