US Agriculture Committee Urges Congress to Pass GMO Labeling Standard

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This week, the US Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on agricultural biotechnology highlighted the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the safety of foods developed from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the tremendous urgency for Congress to pass a national, uniform labeling standard this year.

“The Senate Agriculture hearing reaffirmed the broad consensus among scientists and regulators that GMOs are safe and highlighted the real world negative impacts a patchwork of state labeling mandates will have on farmers, businesses and consumers,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Action by Congress is urgently needed this year to pass a national, uniform labeling standard.”

“We wish to thank Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for holding today’s hearing on a topic so vitally important to consumers and our country’s entire food supply chain,” said Bailey. “We also were pleased to hear Senator Stabenow’s personal commitment to work to develop a bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate by the end of this year, and GMA looks forward to working with her and Senator Roberts to get a bill adopted and signed into law.”

This Senate hearing follows July passage by the House of Representatives of a bipartisan bill creating a national labeling standard and a GMO-free certification program that will provide those consumers who wish to purchase products that do not contain GMOs with a reliable means of doing so.

Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law goes into effect July 1, further underscoring the need for quick action as companies are considering costly changes to comply with the state law.

“While we continue our efforts in federal court to challenge Vermont’s state labeling law, the court process could take years until full resolution, and will certainly not be concluded prior to the implementation of the Vermont law in just over eight months.  That leaves only Congress with the authority to prevent this law and others like it from enactment,” continued Bailey. “It is critically important that Congress act this year to prevent a costly and confusing patchwork of state labeling laws from taking effect next year and spreading across the country.”