GMO Labeling Issue in Senate, Uncertainty Remains

As we noted last week, the U.S. Senate has struggled to find the right balance with respect to the GMO food labeling issue.  (Recall that the U.S. House addressed this issue in July).

Politico’s Morning Agriculture reported today that, “Congress is back in town, and it’s not a moment too soon for the food industry. There are now just 53 days until Vermont’s GMO labeling law takes effect, leaving little time for Congress to craft and pass a fix. And options for what the bill should include are also limited. An effort in March from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts that would’ve given the Grocery Manufacturers Association two years to get widespread adoption of its SmartLabel electronic labeling program failed to get enough Democrats to sign on thanks to concerns that the legislation still fell short on providing information to consumers. In the meantime, companies from General Mills to Frito-Lay have started labeling in compliance with Vermont’s law, which is set to take effect July 1.”

The Politico update noted: “Stay tuned.”

Meanwhile, and more broadly with respect to genetically modified crops, Reuters writers Tom Polansek and Karl Plume reported on Friday that, “Across the U.S. Farm Belt, top grain handlers have banned genetically modified crops that are not approved in all major overseas markets, shaking up a decades-old system that used the world’s biggest exporting country as a launchpad for new seeds from companies like Monsanto Co.

“Bold yellow signs from global trader Bunge Ltd are posted at U.S. grain elevators barring 19 varieties of GMO corn and soybeans that lack approval in important markets.

“CHS Inc, the country’s largest farm cooperative, wants companies to keep seeds with new biotech traits off the market until they have full approval from major foreign buyers, Gary Anderson, a senior vice president for CHS, told Reuters.”

The Reuters writers noted that, “The U.S. farm sector is trying to avoid a repeat of the turmoil that occurred in 2013 and 2014, when China turned away boatloads of U.S. corn containing a Syngenta AG trait called Viptera that it had not approved. Viptera corn was engineered to control insects.

“Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] and Archer Daniels Midland Co each said the rejections cost them millions of dollars, and both companies have sued Syngenta for damages. ADM is refusing GMO crops that lack global approval. Cargill did not respond to requests for comment.

“The United States is the biggest producer of GMO crops and has long been at the forefront of technology aiming to protect crops against insects or allow them to resist herbicides.”

This entry was posted in Agriculture Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.