The U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a 306-117 vote, bipartisan legislation that would federally preempt a potential patchwork of differing state laws regarding the labeling of human food and animal feed containing biotechnology-enhanced ingredients.
The legislation — a compromise developed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and passed by the Senate July 7 — provides certainty by preempting Vermont's mandatory GMO labeling law, which went into effect earlier this month, in favor of a uniform national standard that would provide an efficient mechanism for consumers who wish to know more about food products, including the biotech content of food. Easy access to this information will be disclosed on products without forcing other consumers to incur exponential increases in food costs.
A national biotech food labeling solution is needed to avert major supply chain disruptions and inefficiencies in production, storage, transportation, manufacturing and distribution of food and feed that would translate into significant cost increases for consumers.
"This legislation preempts the Vermont law and averts further delay and uncertainty," said National Grain and Feed Association President Randy Gordon. "The supply chain that provides the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply the world has ever seen needs certainty on this issue, which makes it vitally important to enact a solution as quickly as possible that does not misinform consumers or denigrate crop technology and innovations that time and time again have been scientifically proven to be safe for consumers and the environment.
"We call on President Obama to sign this bill into law as soon as possible so that the negative impacts of Vermont's law are brought to an end."