FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Peggy Armstrong
(February 19, 2016 – Washington, D.C.) The International Dairy Foods Association today praised legislation proposed by Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts that would create a national uniform standard on biotechnology labeling, and called for urgent action to take up and pass the legislation.
Vermont’s mandatory law requiring on-package labels of foods containing ingredients that have been genetically modified takes effect in July 2016. Unless Congress acts swiftly to provide a uniform standard for food labeling, food companies will be faced with hefty implementation costs, confusion across their supply chain and chaos marketing their products.
The implementation costs associated with this law and other state-based labeling laws would inevitably be passed on to consumers via higher prices that would hit lower income families the hardest. Dairy products are important nutritionally, and according to the most recent 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 80 percent of the U.S. population does not consume the recommended three servings a day. Unnecessarily raising the cost of dairy products for consumers will only exacerbate this public health problem.
“The bill proposed by Chairman Roberts provides a common-sense, national food labeling standard that brings consistency and transparency to the marketplace, and will ensure consumers have access to more product information than ever before without stigmatizing a safe, proven technology that is a central part of modern farming,” said J. David Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs. “We appreciate Chairman Roberts’ leadership and we look forward to working towards passage of this important legislation.”
The proposed bill would establish a national voluntary GMO labeling standard to be developed by USDA within two years of the bill’s enactment. The bill would also prohibit any State from setting separate GMO labeling requirements, and also includes an educational component that will inform consumers about the safety and accessibility of information on agricultural biotechnology.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies within a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's nearly 200 dairy processing members run nearly 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org.