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Senate Passes Roberts/Stabenow GMO Labeling Bill; Now To The House

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Last updated on July 11th, 2016 at 10:22 am

Next week is a big week in the U.S. House of Representatives for the U.S. food industry, following the July 7 Senate passage of a bipartisan bill that creates a national labeling standard for all foods made with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Industry groups commended the Senate for its passage and now are urging the House to move swiftly to pass the bill before it recesses on July 15.

Peter Larkin, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association, said, “On behalf of the independent supermarket industry, NGA commends the U.S. Senate for passing this important legislation that creates a uniform federal standard for the labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. This legislation will help to ensure that the consumers our members serve on a daily basis have clear and consistent information on the food products that they purchase and consume nationwide. We were pleased to see the strong bipartisan support this bill received and strongly urge that the U.S. House bring this legislation to the floor for a vote next week.”

Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, also praised the bill’s passage: “FMI applauds the Senate’s favorable action on this critical agriculture biotechnology labeling legislation and calls on the House of Representatives to also act on this time-sensitive bill before it recesses next week.”

Sarasin expressed the sentiments of many industry groups around this bill: “The development of a single national GMO labeling standard is absolutely essential to avoid the consumer confusion that will emerge from a patchwork of differing state laws, conflicting definitions and divergent labeling criteria regarding biotechnology. The Roberts-Stabenow agreement will allow consumers the opportunity to receive accurate and accessible information they desire by offering the food industry an efficient, economical and orderly means of providing such information. We and our partners in the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food praise this important Senate action in support of this legislation and encourage the House’s expeditious passage of the bill next week.”

In its own statement, Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF) co-chair Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said, “The Senate has provided all Americans a transparent and consistent system of disclosure that will give consumers access to more product information than ever before, and we urge the House to consider this legislation next week.

“Nearly 1,100 organizations in the food-producing community are united behind this bill to set a uniform, national standard that protects American family farmers and small businesses. Today’s vote means that both chambers of Congress have had strong bipartisan votes to set a national standard and avoid the higher costs and consumer confusion from a patchwork of state labeling laws.”

Bailey’s CFSAF co-chair, Charles F. Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, added, “We are tremendously thankful for this Senate vote and for the leadership of Senators Roberts and Stabenow. We will now turn our full attention to working with the House and explaining why this is the right solution for farmers, food companies and consumers. This bill is simply too important to let sit until after the summer recess. Vermont’s law is already in effect and the negative consequences are already being felt. We need to get this solution passed by Congress and signed into law this month.”

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