GMO Labeling: Senators Talking as July 1 Vermont State Law Deadline Approaches

Recall that Vermont is set to implement a GMO labeling requirement that goes into effect on July 1.

The U.S. House, last summer, passed a bill that would preempt existing state mandatory labeling laws, such as the labeling law passed in Vermont, but so far, the U.S. Senate has failed to pass a similar measure.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) has indicated that, “[T]he biggest problem we have in agriculture is all of this labeling,” while Senate Ag Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) has noted that finding the right balance on the labeling issue has been very difficult.

Meanwhile, more companies have moved to label products that contain GMO materials as July 1 fast approaches.

And the Los Angeles Times editorial board pointed out on Sunday that, “A sweeping new study of genetically engineered crops released this week has found no evidence that they are unsafe for human consumption. They don’t cause diabetes, cancer, obesity or food allergies, and are safe for livestock as well, researchers for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded.

“That should offer some relief to Americans, since an estimated 70% of packaged food contains some genetically modified organisms. The findings from the venerable National Academies also should put a damper on the growing efforts to force foodmakers to slap labels on food containing GMOs. Beginning this summer, Vermont will be the first state to require labels; other states are considering similar measures.”

Nicole Heslip reportd on Friday at Brownfield that, “Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow says she and Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts have finally sat down to talk about GMO labeling.

“‘I’ve been putting together various proposals and working with the Chairman.’ She says, ‘Five weeks ago I gave him complete legislation and this week he finally wanted to sit down and talk about it and see what we could work out.’

“She tells Brownfield whatever legislation goes to the Senate will need a supermajority of 60 votes to pass- and pass the House — before Vermont’s law goes into effect July 1st. A previous attempt by Roberts for a voluntary system failed a Senate vote in March.”

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