President Barack Obama has signed S. 764 into law, a bi-partisan, bi-cameral action that sets in place one national standard for GMO disclosure. According to industry food groups like the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the bill brings consistency, certainty and an end to restrictions on interstate commerce facing retailers, manufacturers and customers.
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, “I am proud of the food retail industry’s role in helping get this legislation approved on Capitol Hill and now signed into law by President Obama. I am convinced it will help circumvent further consumer confusion on the already misunderstood and complex topic of GMOs.
“I am grateful that this law will help avoid further disruption in the interstate commerce of food products. And I am encouraged that this law allows our industry to move beyond the traditional label and toward exploration of new and unprecedented ways of providing our customers with the information they need in making the wisest food choices for themselves and their families. In addition to the President’s role in signing it into law, we are most appreciative of the part U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his team played during critical times in the legislative history of this law and will now play in implementation.
“The journey for this legislation from introduction on Capitol Hill to ratification in the Oval Office was a long and bumpy one, but this law will go a long way in helping us better achieve our mission of successfully feeding families and enriching lives.
“We sincerely extend our thanks to the President, Secretary Vilsack and leaders in Congress who worked so diligently on a compromise, especially Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Ranking Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), as well as House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota).”
GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey said, “This legislation will open a new era for transparency in ingredient information for consumers, by requiring disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients for families in every state across the nation. Its consistent national standard is far better than a costly and confusing patchwork of different state labeling. The President’s signing of this legislation also stops, effective immediately, Vermont’s mandatory on-package labeling law that went into effect July 1 and already has left consumers in the state with fewer products on the shelves and higher compliance costs for small businesses.
“Food and beverage companies fully embrace the importance of making available to consumers the information they want about their products, and are already doing something about it. Our innovative SmartLabel technology initiative puts detailed information about thousands of products right at the fingertips of consumers—more information than could ever fit on a package. More than 2,000 products already are using SmartLabel and are listed on the SmartLabel.org website. We project that more than 34,000 products will be using SmartLabel by the end of 2017.
“GMA looks forward to working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as it begins the rule making process to implement this legislation now that it has been signed into law.”