Missouri Gene Therapy Bill Voted Down

Legislation Aimed at mRNA Vaccines in Missouri Rejected by State House Committee

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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A committee in the Missouri House of Representatives voted against a bill that would have required labels on beef and other agriculture products produced using so-called gene-therapy techniques. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- A bill at the center of a vaccine controversy in the state of Missouri was voted down in a committee of the state's house of representatives this week.

The Missouri House Committee on Emerging Issues voted 10-4 against HB1169 on Wednesday, effectively ending the bill's chance for passage in the current session.

Among many other stipulations, the bill would have required all beef derived from Missouri cattle to include labels detailing vaccines cattle received throughout their life. HB1169 also would have applied to commodities produced using GMO corn and soybeans.

DTN reported earlier this week that HB1169 was at the center of several conspiracies circulating on social media.

That includes a theory that messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines were set for commercial use by livestock producers beginning in May. Livestock mRNA vaccines have been in development for years, but none are currently licensed for use.

According to the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, the legislation would have devalued Missouri cattle.

"This was the most poorly drafted piece of legislation I have seen in my career," MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering, said in a statement. "If passed, this careless piece of legislation would have devalued Missouri agricultural commodities for absolutely no reason. Given that 98% of the calves in Missouri are exported to other states for finishing and processing, this legislation truly would have been a train wreck for Missouri cattle producers."

According to the Missouri Soybean Association, meat derived from livestock fed corn or soybeans would have been required to be labeled as "potential gene therapy."

In addition to MCA and the Missouri Soybean Association, the legislation was also opposed by the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Pork Producers, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and other interests.

"This anti-science legislation would have exponentially driven up food prices, set up the potential for massive lawsuits and had a chilling effect on economic development in the state," according to a letter from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

Similar legislation has been introduced in Arizona, Tennessee and other states to require package labels on products made using so-called "gene therapy" techniques.

The bill doesn't mention mRNA vaccine technology at all but would require such labels on vaccines of all kinds as well as GMO foods, for example.

Gene therapy is a field of medicine that focuses on the genetic modification of cells to produce therapeutic effects, or the treatment of diseases by repairing defective genetic material.

In fact, there are gene therapy drugs on the market.

HB1169 defines "gene therapy product" as "any product with any capacity to alter, interfere with, or otherwise act in any manner similar or equivalent to genes."

According to the bill, "Any product that has been created to act as, or exposed to processes that could result in the product potentially acting as, a gene therapy or that could otherwise possibly impact, alter, or introduce genetic material or a genetic change into the user of the product, individuals exposed to the product, or individuals exposed to others who have used the product shall be conspicuously labeled with the words 'Potential Gene Therapy Product' unless the product is known to be a gene therapy product."

HB1169 would allow Missouri residents to make written requests to "any entity" that "produces, sells, or distributes a product in this state with the capacity to infect an individual with a disease or to expose an individual to genetically modified material, including, but not limited to, vaccines, gene therapies, drugs, and medical interventions, shall provide any and all information related to the ways in which individuals who did not directly obtain or use such product may be exposed to the product or a component of the product."

Read more on DTN:

"mRNA Controversy Puts Ag on Defensive," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley

Todd Neeley

Todd Neeley
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