GMO labeling update

The U.S. House this week plans to take up a voluntary labeling system for genetically-engineered foods, something Republicans largely favor, but Democrats may be divided over. Last week the GMO voluntary labeling bill first introduced by Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo easily moved through committee by voice vote.

Just a week later, the bipartisan bill that goes by the acronym “SAFE,” is set for floor action. But some Democrats, including Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, are pushing back.

“Sixty-four other countries have GMO labeling laws and the sky hasn’t fallen in on those countries. Food prices haven’t increased. Consumers haven’t stopped eating GMO foods. Consumers simply know what’s in their food and how it’s produced.”

Other Democrats, including ranking agriculture member Collin Peterson, want to prevent individual states, counties, cities and towns from interfering with interstate commerce.

“The bill gives USDA significant involvement which, given their past successes with the organic program simply makes sense.”

Peterson says surveys show consumers increasingly want to know where their food comes from, and how it’s produced. But he and other agriculture Democrats don’t want GMO foods that are prolific in the nation’s food supply to be ‘stigmatized,’ by a kind of, ‘skull and crossbones’ on food labels. Private and government studies claim GMO foods are safe.

Over in the Senate, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley says a Senate version of the SAFE Act is in the works under the care of North Dakota Republican John Hoeven.

“And I think he will be able to get enough of an agreement to produce a bill,” Grassley said. “I think he would like to have it be bipartisan if he could, at least if I were doing it I would. And that’s absolutely necessary if we’re going to get a bill through the United States Senate.”

Grassley says he’ll support the GMO bill if it’s similar to last year’s House version. The American Farm Bureau has endorsed this year’s House SAFE Act, for what AFBF says is its effort to show food “quackery” and “pseudoscience” to the door.

Source: NAFB News Service