The Senate Agriculture Committee has taken a significant step toward preempting state laws that would require food manufacturers to indicate on labels there are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) inside their products. The committee approved standardized language in place of what food companies said would be an impossible state-by-state patchwork of regulations.

“It is clear that what we’re facing today is not a safety or health issue. It is a market issue,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This is really a conversation about a few states dictating to every state the way food moves from farmers to consumers in the value chain. We have a responsibility to ensure that the national market can work for everyone, including farmers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.”

Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), praises the measure, saying it will make it easier for companies to voluntarily disclose information about genetically engineered ingredients in food.