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Agricultural News

House Ag Committee Examines Cost and Impact of Mandatory GMO Labeling

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:45:49 CDT

House Ag Committee Examines Cost and Impact of Mandatory GMO Labeling The House Committee on Agriculture Tuesday held a public hearing to examine the costs and impacts of states implementing mandatory biotechnology labeling laws. In 2014, 125 bills mandating the labeling of biotechnology were introduced in 30 different states. According to a report by a Cornell Business School professor, shifting from the current voluntary system to a mandatory system in New York State would significantly increase food costs. The report found that a family of four in New York State could pay, on average, an additional $500 in annual food costs if mandatory labeling becomes law. The state would also incur an estimated $1.6 million in costs from writing and enforcing new regulations and litigating potential lawsuits related to mandatory labeling, which could run as high as $8 million and would likely be passed onto consumers.

The committee recognizes the desire among some consumers for more information about food. Voluntary marketing programs already exist in the Department of Agriculture that provide consumers with this information in an effective and affordable manner, such as the National Organic Program.    

"This growing patchwork of mandatory state laws is creating confusion and driving up the cost of food, harming the most vulnerable Americans," Chairman Conaway said. "Our farmers and ranchers produce the safest, most affordable and most abundant food in the world. Unnecessary and conflicting regulations will only make it harder for our farmers and ranchers to feed America and the world. These state laws are not based on science and are both inconsistent and misleading. We have a federal regulatory process for the approval of biotechnology that is both scientifically sound and works. It is incumbent on us to make sure that the system is not undermined. These state laws are a tangible threat to American agriculture and all of us who depend on it."    

Biotech, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Davis (IL-13) is playing a central role on this issue.

"Biotech labeling is an important issue that we cannot afford to get wrong," Davis said. "A patchwork of inconsistent or unnecessary regulations from states could add hundreds to a family's grocery bill each year. As we continue this discussion regarding labeling, we must remember the benefits biotech has on our environment and the role it plays in feeding a growing population."

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Conaway's opening statement or watch the archived webcast by clicking here.

Witness List:

Dr. David B. Schmidt, President and CEO, International Food Information Council and Foundation, Washington, D.C. - Click here to read his testimony.   

Dr. Nina Fedoroff, Senior Science Advisor, OFW Law, Washington, D.C. - Click here to read her testimony.   

Mrs. Joanna Lidback, Owner, The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, Westmore, VT - Click here to read her testimony.

Mr. Lynn Clarkson, President, Clarkson Grain Company, Inc., Cerro Gordo, IL - Click here to read his testimony   

Mr. Thomas Dempsey, CEO, Snack Food Association, Arlington, VA - Click here to read his testimony   

Mr. Chris Policinski, President and CEO, Land O'Lakes, Inc., Arden Hills, MN - Click here to read his testimony



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