The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House Wednesday by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) with bi-partisan co-sponsorship.
The bill would provide for uniform federal food labeling standards and includes a new provision to allow those who wish to label their products as GMO-free to do so by through an accredited certification process. “Our goal for this legislation remains to provide clarity and transparency in food labeling, support innovation, and keep food affordable,” said Pompeo.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) supports the creation of a national labeling standard to “give consumers the information they need while avoiding the unnecessary confusion and added cost of a patchwork of state laws,” said AFBF president Bob Stallman. “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 would clarify the FDA as the nation’s foremost authority on food safety and create a voluntary labeling program run by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the same agency that administers the USDA Organic Program.”
The Agricultural Retailers Association also endorsed the legislation. “Agricultural retailers are optimistic the broad support of this bipartisan proposal will lead to quick passage of the bill,” said Daren Coppock, ARA President and Chief Executive Officer. “A patchwork of labeling laws would be untenable for farmers and food companies, and result in less clarity for consumers.”
“Introduction of this legislation is a first step towards passage of a federal law to keep the authority to set safe, reasonable and national labeling requirements regarding GMOs with U.S. government agencies that have decades of scientific and regulatory expertise in this area,” added Coalition for Safe Affordable Food spokesperson Claire Parker.
The legislation was introduced last year in the House but never passed and the Senate has yet to propose a companion bill.