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Agricultural News

GMO Labeling Compromise Measure Set for Senate Vote Next Week- After the Fourth of July

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 05:35:59 CDT

GMO Labeling Compromise Measure Set for Senate Vote Next Week- After the Fourth of July The U.S. Senate Wednesday night cleared a procedural vote on the GMO labeling compromise by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts. The Senate voted 68-29 in favor of the vote, clearing the way for considerations on the Senate floor. Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, says the bill “will have the votes” to pass the Senate, likely next week. Senator Roberts, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, echoed Stabenow’s comments saying “I'm pleased with the outcome of tonight's procedural vote," said Roberts. "The Senate stood up for America’s farmers, ranchers, consumers, and sound science. I look forward to the Senate acting next week.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders attempted to put a hold on the bill last night- complaining that the shell bill that was being used to advance the GMO Labeling Compromise might turn out to be an elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood. After assurances from Majority Leader McConnell, Democrats backed off the arguments made by Sanders and the procedural vote proceeded and passed. Besides the opposition by Sanders, other Democrats want the bill to include mandatory on-package requirements, rather than giving food manufacturers the option of on-package labels, or smart labels that direct consumers to more information.

Supporters of the Senate language say that while July arrives tomorrow, it’s not too late for lawmakers to preempt Vermont's GMO labeling mandate. Though the state law takes effect Friday, the Vermont attorney general has said he will not start enforcing the law until the beginning of 2017.

To read the complete text of the Roberts-Stabenow proposal, click here.

Industry groups continue to push lawmakers to get this done in July before the lengthy recess hits mid month. Earlier this week, BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood, sent a letter to the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives urging them to support the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling agreement. Greenwood tells Congress preemption of the Vermont law is esstential- "The Congress must pass the Roberts-Stabenow agreement and send it to the President without delay. Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law takes effect on July 1. That state’s law is already generating chaos in the food chain and will, if not replaced with a uniform federal program, raise food prices for consumers. In the absence of such a national standard, many food companies already have been forced to undertake costly measures to comply with Vermont’s law, either through special labeling or sourcing more expensive non-GMO ingredients, and many more will face such choices as more and different state labeling laws proliferate across the country."

You can read his complete letter by clicking on the PDF link at the bottom of this story.



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