The House Agriculture Committee is trying to set the record straight after some deliberate distortions by anti-GMO activists. According to the Coalition For Safe Affordable Food, the committee issued guidance on the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act that definitively declares that this bipartisan legislation creates a uniform, science-based labeling standard for foods produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without infringing upon the right of state and local governments to regulate agricultural production within their jurisdictions. This is a direct repudiation of claims to the contrary made by anti-GMO activists in recent days.
Chairman Mike Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson stated, “A centerpiece of H.R. 1599 ‘The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,’ authored by Representatives Pompeo and Butterfield and cosponsored by 106 members including ourselves, is to avoid the patchwork of state laws dealing with biotech food labeling. The bill that the House of Representatives will soon consider provides preemption solely for food use and labeling. The preemption provision does not delve into areas beyond this —such as cultivation of crops.”
In particular, the Just Label It campaign, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Food Safety have been pushing an unfounded narrative that is either intentionally dishonest or remarkably uninformed. Spokespeople for these groups have made statements that have resulted in inaccurate reporting.
“It is unfortunate that groups that claim the mantle of consumer advocacy would employ tactics that do nothing but undermine the public discourse,” said Claire Parker, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food.
The bill also gives those who choose to buy non-GMO foods a reliable means of doing so through a USDA GMO-free certification program, a program based on the popular National Organics Program. Consumers have ready and able access to organic products, so too will they have the consistent capacity to buy GMO-free foods.