Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
More than 1,000 companies, business groups and trade organizations yesterday urged leaders of the Senate to act quickly to pass legislation that would set a national standard on labeling foods made with genetically modified, or GMO, ingredients. The groups expressed support for the bipartisan agreement recently drafted by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and said Congress must avoid mandates that will hinder agricultural advancements and hurt consumers, especially those with low incomes who can least afford food price hikes.
IDFA and many member companies signed the letter, which was sent yesterday to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
“The issue of biotech labeling is one of the most significant issues that the agriculture and food industry has faced in recent years,” the groups said in the letter. “The U.S. agriculture and food industry creates over 17 million jobs, representing nearly 1 in 10 jobs. This very system—which produces the most abundant, the highest quality and the most affordable food supply in the world—will be threatened with large economic costs without a national uniform solution to the biotech labeling issue.”
Noting that experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency continue to reaffirm the safety of biotechnology, the groups said, “A Vermont-style on-pack only labeling mandate would mislead consumers and drive up their grocery bills.”
The Senate will be in session through Thursday this week, but that doesn’t leave enough time for McConnell to follow procedures for taking the bill to the floor. The senators will return to their home states on Friday for a 10-day holiday recess and will return July 11.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.