The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food urged congressional leaders last Friday to include a provision in the omnibus spending bill that would stop states from passing a patchwork of labeling laws for genetically modified (GMO) foods or foods containing GMO ingredients. IDFA joined 45 other national trade associations on the letter asking for language that would ensure that “food companies, farmers, ranchers and consumers won’t face the significant increased costs of state GMO labeling laws.”
The coalition is working with Congress, as well as state and local food, agriculture and retail groups to develop a uniform national standard for voluntary GMO labeling.
“Today interest groups across the country are pushing state-level labeling mandates that will exacerbate consumer confusion and drive up food prices,” the coalition letter said. “The result will be higher food prices for hardworking American families – as much as $500 a year for a family of four, according to a study conducted by Cornell University Professor William Lesser.”
Approximately 80 bills were introduced in 20 states this year, with laws in Connecticut, Vermont and Maine already enacted. The coalition noted that Vermont’s GMO labeling bill is scheduled to take effect next July, and food companies will need to begin implementing labeling changes next month to meet that deadline unless Congress acts.
Several key lawmakers, however, have said it’s unlikely that Congress would reach agreement on this issue before the year ends. IDFA will continue to work through the coalition and with members of Congress on initiatives to stop the costly and confusing patchwork of state GMO labeling laws.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.