Seed World

GMO Labeling Agreement Takes One Step Forward

farm bill

At 3:58 EDT, today (July 6), the U.S. Senate began a procedural vote to move S.764 forward. By a vote of 65-32, the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling agreement now takes one step forward.
According to the U.S. Senate website, there will now be up to 30 hours of debate prior to another vote scheduled for as early as next week.
“We commend Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow for their leadership in moving this critical agreement forward,” says Andy LaVigne, American Seed Trade Association president and CEO. “The legislation is a common sense, practical solution to prevent the consequences of a costly and confusing patchwork of state food-labeling laws, like we’ve already seen set into motion in Vermont.”
ASTA and other agricultural groups, such as the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, urge the U.S. Senate to pass S.764 as soon as possible, so the U.S. House can take it up next week.
Vermont’s mandatory law requiring on-package labels of foods containing ingredients that have been genetically modified went into effect July 1.
Congress needs to act now to avoid the chaos in the marketplace that will result from having different labeling standards from one state to the next, says Chip Bowling, NCGA president.
According to NCGA, multiple studies have shown that the costs associated with Vermont’s GMO-labeling law, and a subsequent patchwork of state laws, will cost American families hundreds of dollars more in groceries each year — with low-income Americans being hit the hardest.
The agricultural groups agree that the Roberts-Stabenow agreement brings consistency to the marketplace, ensuring that consumers have access to product information they deserve without stigmatizing this safe, proven, technology valued by American farmers.
Chuck Connor, NCFC president, is optimistic about the bill’s future.
“We hope that once the Senate takes a final vote on the measure that the House will take it up and pass it—and that the President will sign it—before Congress goes into recess for the party conventions,” he says.
For more background about GM labeling in the United States, check out Labeling Causes Chaos.