US House passes Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act
The US House of Representatives passed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” by a vote of 275-150 Thursday. The bill preempts state-level efforts to create mandatory GMO labeling laws by granting FDA authority to establish a national standard label for food and beverage products containing genetically modified ingredients.
The legislation requires manufacturers to receive FDA certification that their products are deemed safe to enter the market and ensures consistency between non-GMO certification processes established by other labeling programs. The bill also sets a federal standard for the definition of “natural” food. The act was introduced in March by Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and has attracted 106 cosponsors. Vermont is currently the only state with a law requiring labels for food containing GMO ingredients. That law is scheduled to take effect in July 2016, though it is being challenged by the food industry.
The bill has received support from the food industry which argued that a patchwork of state labeling laws would lead to consumer confusion and higher product costs.
“AFFI applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for advancing legislation that benefits consumers and protects frozen food and beverage makers from burdensome and misguided state regulations,” said Kraig Naasz, American Frozen Food Institute president and CEO. “AFFI urges the U.S. Senate to follow suit and pass legislation that thwarts the creation of a complicated patchwork of state-based labeling rules that would increase, rather than reduce, consumer confusion and food prices.”
“Today’s bipartisan passage of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (HR 1599) clearly demonstrates the growing support for this critically important legislation,” said Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “We now call on the U.S. Senate to move quickly on a companion bill and pass it this year.”