Coalition Supports Roberts Bill on Labeling

Cindy Zimmermanbiotechnology, Corn, GMO, Government, NCGA

CFSAFthe Coalition for Safe, Affordable Food (CFSAF) is calling for quick action on a draft bill proposed by Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) to address labeling for genetically modified foods.

“Farmers, businesses and American families are counting on Congress to pass a uniform, national labeling standard for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as quickly as possible because Vermont’s state labeling mandate goes into effect in July,” said Claire Parker, CFSAF spokesperson. “The clock is ticking, and unless Congress acts quickly, hardworking American families will soon be facing higher food bills.”

The coalition includes 50 food and agricultural organizations that support a national voluntary labeling standard for genetically modified foods, which Roberts’ bill would do. Among the members of the coalition is the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

NCGA-Logo-3“The introduction of Roberts’s proposal is an important first step to restoring sanity to America’s food labeling laws,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling of Maryland. “(S)tates such as Vermont are quickly moving toward costly, confusing mandatory labeling legislation. It is imperative that the Senate takes up this issue quickly to avoid a situation in which all American consumers pay a high price and gain little actual information.”

Vermont’s mandatory law requiring on-package labels of foods containing ingredients that have been genetically modified takes effect in July, and the CFSAF cites studies that show the associated costs with Vermont’s GMO-labeling law and a subsequent patchwork of state laws will cost American families hundreds of dollars more in groceries each year – with low-income Americans being hit the hardest.

The Roberts bill would “require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for bioengineered food” under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, and also creates a campaign that will educate the public on both the safety of GMOs and on how they can learn more about the foods they purchase. The Senate Agriculture Committee on Agriculture will consider the chairman’s bill Thursday, February 25 at 10 am Eastern.