Importance of Voluntary National GMO Labeling Standards Reinforced at Hearing
July 12, 2015
Testimony at June hearing before a key House subcommittee reinforced the importance of a establishing national standard for labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients, rather than allowing a patchwork of state requirements.
“State-by-state GMO labeling is simply not an option, as testimony at this and earlier hearings has shown,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. “A better approach is federal legislation endorsed by NMPF that would set up voluntary regulations for labeling foods with GMO ingredients.”
That legislation, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, requires the Food and Drug Administration to set standards for companies wishing to label products as either containing or not containing GMOs. It was introduced this spring by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC).
“The Pompeo-Butterfield bill would deal with GMO labeling at the national level,” Mulhern said. “It would set uniform rules and provide a national certification program for foods that have been produced without bioengineering.”
In March, Vermont dairy farmer Joanna Lidback and Land O’Lakes Chief Executive Office Chris Policinski testified on GMO labeling before the House Agriculture Committee. Lidback said genetically modified seeds keep her farm’s feed bills low and allow her to use less fertilizer and pesticides. Her state has enacted a mandatory GMO labeling bill that is scheduled to go into effect next year.
Policinski said state GMO labeling “would be a logistical nightmare, creating dozens of different standards, different definitions, and different exemptions.”
GMOs have been proven safe by nearly 2,000 studies from the leading scientific bodies in the world, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association. Currently, up to 80 percent of the food available in the United States contains genetically modified ingredients.