The legislation is a bipartisan compromise that was developed on June 23 by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Republican, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat.
It now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote.
The legislation would provide certainty by preempting Vermont's mandatory GMO labeling law, which went into effect earlier this month, in favor of a uniform national standard that would provide an efficient mechanism for consumers who wish to know more about food products, including the biotech content of food.
Easy access to this information will be disclosed on products without forcing other consumers to incur exponential increases in food costs.
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) urge the U.S. House of Representatives to join in an expedited effort to approve the Senate-passed legislation. A national biotech food labeling solution is needed to avert major supply chain disruptions and inefficiencies in production, storage, transportation, manufacturing and distribution of food and feed that would translate into significant cost increases for consumers, NGFA said. The legislation offers three labeling options for companies to use: text, a symbol or an electronic or digital link.
"With all things being equal, we would have preferred the House's prudent approach,” said Randy Gordon, NGFA president. “But now, the choice is between the Senate-passed bill, the Vermont law or further delay and uncertainty, and of those, the Senate bill is by far the preferable option. The supply chain that provides the most abundant and affordable food supply the world has ever seen needs certainty on this issue, which makes it vitally important to enact a solution as quickly as possible that does not misinform consumers or denigrate crop technology and innovations that time and time again have been scientifically proven to be safe for consumers and the environment."
Leah Wilkinson, vice-president of legislative, regulatory and state affairs for the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) said, “The Roberts-Stabenow agreement is must-have legislation to prevent a patchwork system of state GE labeling laws. The balanced, common sense agreement provides consumers ample information to assist in making informed food purchasing decisions, while giving food companies options of how to provide that information.”
Gordon Stoner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) said, “This bill represents a great step in achieving public acceptance of a reliable, safe technology. It is imperative that we provide useful and clear information to consumers that will help them see the benefit of technologies that supply safe, sustainably-produced food to American consumers.”