Hailed as the answer to state-specific organic labeling laws by some in the food industry, the House Agriculture Committee approved the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 Tuesday. The legislation would create a federal law on GMO labeling that would set a national standard and preempt state laws such as the one in Vermont.
First introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), the legislation has evolved through bipartisan discussions between the Agriculture Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee. The amendment in the nature of a substitute, offered by Rep. Davis (R-IL), for H.R. 1599 will provide clarity and stability in the marketplace through national uniformity regarding marketing claims for products grown using the latest agricultural production technologies.
“I appreciate the collaborative efforts of the Energy and Commerce Committee in getting this bipartisan legislation completed and approved today. H.R. 1599 is the solution to an urgent and growing problem,” said Committee Chairman Michael Conaway. “The current patchwork system of varied labels interferes with the free flow of goods across the country, posing a real threat to interstate commerce and typically results in inconsistent and confusing information for consumers. Creating a uniform national policy regarding biotechnology labeling is the free market solution that will allow consumers access to meaningful information, create market opportunities for those on the production and processing side, and will facilitate future innovation.”
Davis said it’s important to have a national standard for labels that consumers can trust. He added “without a national standard, we risk the spread of misinformation and increased food costs.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) praised today’s passage of the legislation.
“Today’s House Agriculture Committee vote is further evidence of the growing support and momentum in Congress for this bill, and we urge the full House to pass it before the August recess,” said Pamela G. Bailey, GMA president and CEO. “This critically important bipartisan legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food rather than a 50 state patchwork of labeling laws that will only prove costly and confusing for consumers, farmers and food manufacturers.”