GMO Labeling Deal Reached in U.S. Senate

AP writer Mary Clare Jalonick reported today that, “Senators have a bipartisan deal to require labeling of genetically modified ingredients nationally, a week before a labeling law in Vermont goes into effect.

“The deal announced Thursday by the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee would require the nationwide labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in packaged foods for the first time. But it would be more lenient than Vermont’s law, allowing food companies to use a text label, a symbol or electronic label accessed by smartphone. Vermont’s law would require items to be labeled “produced with genetic engineering.”

“The agreement couldn’t become law before Vermont’s law kicks in July 1, since the House is on vacation until July 5. Legislation passed by the House would make the labeling voluntary, but that measure stalled in the Senate earlier this year.”

The AP article stated that, “The industry’s main lobbying group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said it is backing the senators’ deal. The group has opposed mandatory labeling nationwide but advocated for electronic labels in negotiations,” and added that, “The Agriculture Department appeared to endorse the legislation, as well, issuing a statement encouraging members of the House and Senate to move quickly on the deal. The bill would give the USDA two years to write the labeling rules.”

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) indicated on Thursday that, “Today‚Äôs announcement brings us closer to providing clear labeling guidelines for genetically engineered crops. A patchwork of labeling laws across state lines is simply not workable and I am committed to finding a solution that balances the consumer desire for information with the scientific evidence of the safety of these crops. I will be closely reviewing this bill and listening to stakeholder input as this process moves forward.”

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