Stabenow’s GMO Labeling Bill Could Serve as a Potential Congressional Compromise
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) plans to propose a GMO labeling bill after briefing groups from each side of the debate. Stabenow has shown her proposal to the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) whose compromise bill previously failed in the Senate. Stabenow has yet to share her proposal with any industry groups, which have noted the need for a Congressional compromise before July 1, 2016 when the Vermont law takes effect. Enacted in 2014, the Vermont law would require labels on all products containing genetically engineered ingredients.
However, Pepsi, as well as its sister company Frito-Lay, plans to label all products nationwide. Currently, some Pepsi bottles already contain the phrase "Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering." Pepsi's use of "partially" signals that no more than 75 percent of the product's ingredients come from GMO sources. Pepsi's premature labeling stems in part from its lawsuit against the Vermont law, alleging the labeling requirement is unconstitutional. Pepsi is seeking an injunction against the rule, and the matter is currently before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
This article was written by Lauren Potocsky, a summer associate at Varnum in 2016. Lauren is currently a student at Wayne State University Law School.