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Genetically Modified Labeling Bill Introduced in House

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Representatives Mike Pompeo of Kansas and G.K Butterfield of North Carolina have introduced a bill that would prohibit state governments from enacting laws requiring labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. The legislation is titled The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food has been pushing for this type of legislation – but Pompeo says the purpose of the legislations is to ensure the U.S. can produce food that feeds the world. He says cross breeding of crops has been occurring for a long time – and he considers genetic modification a more sophisticated way of cross breeding. The legislation would require companies to submit new GM products to FDA – which would examine the products and put on a label if there is evidence of adulteration, food safety or mislabeling.

 

The American Farm Bureau Federation says its farmers and ranchers are encouraged by the bipartisan effort on this legislation. AFBF President Bob Stallman says this measure will make it clear that the FDA should be the nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods with GM ingredients. The diversity of innovative options farmers and ranchers have in regard to how they grow food is one of the reasons Stallman says U.S. consumers enjoy a wide variety of foods that are also among the most affordable in the world. Farm Bureau supports all production practices that ensure consumers are receiving safe and healthy food – but will stand opposed to those who want to take tools and technologies away from America’s farmers and affordable choices away from consumers.

 

American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser says this legislation is a commonsense, science-based approach to an issue close to the hearts and minds of many consumers. Gaesser says Americans want to know their food is safe – and the solutions proposed in this bill will ensure they have that information. Genetically modified soybeans have been in widespread use by American farmers since 1997 – according to Gaesser – and he says not only have they been tested and proven safe – they have also not been traced to any human or animal health risk. That’s why he says farmers grow them and feed them to their families.

 

More than 40,000 members of the National Corn Growers Association work tirelessly to provide America’s families with a wide variety of nutritious, quality food choices that are safe and affordable – according to NCGA President Martin Barbre. He says a federal GMO labeling solution will allow consumers to feel confident in the safety of American food by affirming FDA’s sole authority in food safety and labeling decisions.

This legislation is vital to giving America’s farmers certainty about what the rules of the game will be when it comes to labeling foods containing GMOs – according to National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President and CEO Chuck Conner. Conner says a 50-state patchwork of different labeling laws and regulations wouldn’t only burden farmers and food producers – but would cause significant confusion among consumers at grocery stores across the nation. He says growers and farmer co-ops across the U.S. have embraced biotechnology as a way to increase yields in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. The only proof necessary about the benefits of biotech crops is the drought of two-years ago – according to Conner. With a world population to meet 9-billion people by 2050 – he says GMO crops will play a key role in feeding the future – and this legislation is an important step in cutting through misinformation about GMOs.

 

Source: NAFB News service