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Senate Agriculture Committee to Review GMO Labeling Bill

March 21, 2016

The Senate Agriculture Committee is in the process of moving forward with a GMO Labeling Bill. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, released a discussion draft of the bill in February, and has the support of the American Farm Bureau Federation. According to Michigan Farmer, “Roberts’ legislation directs the agriculture secretary to establish a national voluntary bio-engineered food labeling standard for food within two years of enactment. The labeling standard covers bioengineered food and any food that may contain bioengineered food. The legislation also allows USDA to establish requirements and procedures to carry out the standard. It doesn’t allow any claim to be made about the food’s quality or safety based upon its bioengineering status. It does call for USDA to conduct an outreach and education campaign on the safety of GMOs. Under Roberts’ draft proposal, states aren’t allowed to have their own standard.” 

A variety of agricultural interest groups are pushing Congress to act quickly before the State of Vermont’s labeling law goes into effect in July. Other states, such as Connecticut and Maine, have also passed GMO labeling laws that have not yet gone into effect.

Randy Gordon of The National Grain and Feed Association has stated that “if states create different labeling rules, food and feed manufacturers would be forced to either not serve that market or transfer the heavy costs of compliance to consumers. A national standard also would avoid the potential for labels to have different meanings in different states, which would lead to even greater costs and further confuse consumers.”

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