The Senate Agricultural Committee reached a bipartisan agreement Thursday establishing a national labeling requirement for foods containing genetically modified ingredients.
The deal comes one week before Vermont’s GMO labeling law goes into effect on July 1.
Last year, the House passed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” in an attempt to preempt state-level efforts to create a mandatory labeling law by making GMO labels voluntary. The measure has been stalled in the Senate since last year. Since then Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and member Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) have attempted to work out a compromise.
The new agreement would create a national labeling standard for packaged foods, prohibiting states or other entities from mandating labels for foods that contain GMOs. Under the law, companies would be required to disclose the use of GMOs through either a text label, a symbol or a link to a website via technology such as a QR code.
Foods where meat, poultry, and egg products are the main ingredient are exempted. The legislation prohibits the Secretary of Agriculture from considering any food product derived from an animal to be bioengineered solely because the animal may have eaten bioengineered feed.
A copy of the agreement can be found here.