The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., would require the developer of a genetically modified organism, or GMO, intended as food to submit a pre-market notification to the Food and Drug Administration. The organization pledged to work with the Senate to pass a similar bill to ensure the final legislation meets the needs of America’s dairy farmers. But it’s been an uphill battle in many places, with strong opposition from the food industry helping to defeat anti-GMO proposals in California and Washington state, among others. The bill would require the FDA to define the use of the word “natural” on food labels but would leave it to the agency to decide whether to allow genetically engineered ingredients.
“Americans have a right to know what is in their food and how it is grown”, Blumenauer said.
Read the text of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 HERE.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is developing its own genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling program, according to recent reports from the Associated Press. Farm Bureau supports this legislation, which would provide a national framework for the voluntary labeling of GMO foods, an alternative to a confusing and costly state-by-state patchwork of mandatory labels. His last attempt at a GMO labeling bill was shelved after Republicans gained the Senate majority. “Cargill also supports the creation of a voluntary USDA-administrated certification and labeling program for non-GMO food products”. John Hoeven, R-N.D., is expected to introduce a companion measure but has yet to announce a Democrat who is willing to co-sponsor it.
It’s backed by the food industry, which has fought mandatory labeling efforts in several states around the country.
In a press statement, Pam Bailey, president and CEO of GMA, which along with other food associations challenged Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law with a lawsuit, thanked the sponsors of H.R. 1599.
If we are going to stop the federal government from taking away our right to demand truth and transparency in labeling, we will have to double or triple our size and our impact.
The food industry says about 75 percent to 80 percent of packaged foods contain genetically modified ingredients. Rep. Adrian Smith voted in favor of the bill. He said the science behind genetically modified crops might have merit, but patent laws that assure a seed’s creator has more control over the crop than the farmer who plants it are a major concern.
“Precisely zero pieces of credible evidence have been presented that foods produced with biotechnology pose any risk to our health and safety”, Pompeo said on the House floor.
But Representative Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) a member of the House Agriculture Committee who opposed the bill, notes that the debate is not about whether GMOs are healthy or unsafe, but about the simple right to know what is in the food consumers purchase for themselves and their families. Many environmental and consumer groups are using the issue to raise money.