Labeling Bill Passes Senate, Heads to House

by Steven Clarke July 10, 2016, 21:56

But as Harvest Public Media's Peggy Lowe reports, it's still a food fight. The overwhelming vote to reject the Roberts' Bill was largely the result of an appeal by millions of consumers nationwide demanding the "right to know" what's in the food they feed to their families. Some farm groups and Big Food have long lobbied against the Vermont law, although huge brands like Campbell Soup and General Mills have accepted the movement toward transparency and have chose to voluntarily label GMO-containing products.

The Senate is expected to vote as early as this week on a bill that would require businesses to label genetically modified foods.

The GMO labeling legislation passed by the Senate last night falls short of what consumers rightly expect - a simple at-a-glance GMO disclosure on the package.

If this bill becomes law, companies will be allowed instead to disclose their GMO ingredients through a QR code on the package.

Sanders also faulted the bill for provided an additional two years for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to publish regulations, and for not including a mandatory timeline for compliance or federal penalties for not complying with the law. Hirono said. "We need to make sure that the final label options are as clear as possible and the regulatory process takes the concerns of Hawai'i farmers and consumers into account".

In January, Campbell was the first major food company to announce support for a single mandatory labelling standard and its commitment to label all of its USA products.

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, voted in favor of the labeling bill. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the committee's chairman, on the GMO bill. Vermont's law is already in effect and the negative consequences are already being felt. "We appreciate Sen. Fischer's support of this bill and hope it will move quickly through the House so that the President may sign it before Vermont's needless labeling law inflicts any more damage on our nation's agricultural economy".

Some food companies were not as keen on Vermont's mandatory GMO labelling law. The organization called the bill "incredibly weak" and noted not all consumers have smartphones that will be able to read the QR codes.

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would mandate foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be labelled. Food produced using GMO technology is unquestionably safe. Reid said when Republicans took over from him, they promised more open rules.

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