Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS)
UPDATED: February 25, 2016
The Senate Agriculture Committee is planning to consider a proposed bill that would help food and beverage companies by creating a national uniform standard that would govern the labeling of bioengineered foods. Originally scheduled for Thursday, February 25, the markup meeting will now be held March 1 at 10:00 a.m., Eastern time.
The bill, proposed last week by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), would immediately preempt separate state GMO labeling requirements, including the law passed in Vermont that would otherwise be implemented on July 1.
The bill would also require the Secretary of Agriculture to create a national voluntary GMO labeling standard and to educate consumers regarding the benefits of agricultural biotechnology. Four years after enactment, the bill would additionally require the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to report to Congress on the extent to which GMO information is being made available to consumers through voluntary claims and other means.
IDFA supports the bill because it would preempt confusing and costly state GMO labeling requirements. More than 600 food and agriculture companies and organizations, including IDFA, sent a joint letter to Chairman Roberts yesterday in support of the legislation.
“Milk and dairy products will not be exempt from the complications of the Vermont GMO labeling bill, so Congress needs to pass federal preemption in short order,” said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs. “We urge every member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to support this legislation.”
Dairy Companies: Tell Senate to Support Food Labeling Bill
Before the Senate Agriculture Committee considers Chairman Roberts’ proposal, IDFA is urging members to tell their senators to support the legislation. By visiting IDFA’s online advocacy platform, Dairy Counts, members can quickly and easily send a prepared message to their senators via email.
“By putting an immediate stop to the patchwork of state-based GMO labeling requirements, Chairman Roberts' proposal will protect consumers from higher food costs and prevent food manufacturers from having to contend with inconsistent and costly regulations,” said Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president for legislative affairs and economic policy. “We need to keep the pressure on in these coming days. Now is the time to urge your senators to support the proposed legislation.”
For more information or for help contacting senators, contact Ashley Burch, IDFA director of political programs, at (202) 220-3534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.