U.S. Senate Could Vote on GMO Labeling Next Week, FDA Expresses Concerns About the Measure

Christopher Doering reported in today’s Des Moines Register that, “A bipartisan Senate bill requiring foods with genetically modified ingredients to be labeled potentially could exclude thousands of items, including many with biotech soy oil and other ingredients, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“In a letter obtained by The Des Moines Register, the FDA expressed concern that the bill’s use of the words ‘that contains genetic material’ would mean that oil made from genetically engineered soybeans, and starches and purified proteins, would not require a GMO label.

The reason is that once the commodity is processed, the product would not have any detectable amounts of the genetic material.”

Mr. Doering noted that, “Theresa Eisenman, an FDA spokesperson, said the agency has not taken a position on the bill. She said FDA and other agencies regularly are asked by Congress to provide help with legislation;” while, “Meghan Cline, a spokesperson with the Senate Agriculture Committee, called the FDA’s comment ‘odd and misplaced.'”

Today’s Register article indicated that, “A vote on the Senate bill could occur as soon as next week. The House, which approved a GMO labeling bill last year that differs significantly from the Senate version, would need to approve the measure.”

Likewise, the Morning Agriculture report from Politico stated today that, “The Senate is expected to vote next week to limit debate on the bill, which gives food companies three options for providing consumers information on GMO ingredients: on-package labeling; on-package electronic labeling; or a symbol that would be developed by the Agriculture Department. USDA officials would have two years to set thresholds for when labeling would be required, but critics of the bill contend it lacks an enforcement mechanism.”

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