Nearly 500 organizations and associations, part of the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, sent a letter to Congress urging members to support H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Last week the House Agriculture Committee passed the bipartisan bill by voice vote and it is expected to be voted on by the House later this week.
The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food’s letter is below.
Honorable Members of the U.S. House of Representatives:
We are writing on behalf of the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food to urge your support for H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. At a time when legislative consensus is hard to come by, it is notable that substantial bipartisan support is building behind a national, voluntary food labeling standard for products containing ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) have introduced H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act— bipartisan legislation that will ensure food labeling in the United States is uniform and science-based.
Today interest groups across the country are pushing state-level labeling mandates that will exacerbate consumer confusion and drive up food prices. Instead of informing consumers, these state initiatives are filled with loopholes, exempting as much as two-thirds of foods. The result will be higher food prices for hard working American families – as much as $500 a year for a family of four, according to a study by Cornell University Professor William Lesseri.
By putting a stop to the patchwork of state-based labeling requirements, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act will protect consumers from unpredictable price variations and protect farmers and food manufacturers from having to contend with inconsistent and costly regulations.
GMOs have been an important part of our nation’s food supply for the past 20 years, and 70-80 percent of the foods people eat in the United States contain ingredients that have been genetically engineered. In addition, the leading health and regulatory bodies in the world, from the World Health Organization to the American Medical Association, have all concluded GMOs are safe.
H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act will give consumers, farmers, and small businesses certainty. The proposed legislation also would improve clarity for foods carrying a GMO-free label and provide uniform rules by creating a national certification program for foods that have been produced without bioengineering.
We encourage you to vote “Yes” on H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act as amended and as reported by the House Agriculture Committee on a voice vote. We believe that it is imperative that Congress pass a bipartisan bill this year to ensure people across our nation continue to have access to consistent science-based standards for food labeling.
MD/DC/DE Beverage Association