Senate Passes GMO Labeling Bill 63 to 30- Roberts, Stabenow and Ag Groups Praise Final VoteFri, 08 Jul 2016 03:28:51 CDT
Late Thursday evening, the US Senate approved the Roberts-Stabenow GMO Labeling Compromise by a final vote of 63 to 30. The Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, Pat Roberts of Kansas, called it "a victory for farmers, ranchers, sound science, and anyone who eats on a budget. Getting to an agreement wasn’t easy, but today’s strong showing in the Senate is a result of the way we get things done in the Agriculture Committee – with hard work and bipartisanship. I thank Ranking Member Stabenow for her continued partnership.”
“Tonight’s vote is the most important vote for agriculture in the last 20 years. We worked hard to ensure the marketplace works for everyone. I mean everyone. Our legislation allows farmers to continue using sound science to produce more food with less resources, gives flexibility to food manufacturers in disclosing information, and gives access to more food information that consumers demand.”
Ranking minority member of the Ag Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow, also released a statement praising the vote:
“Today marks a significant milestone in the fight for a more transparent food system,” Stabenow said. “This bipartisan bill ensures that consumers and families throughout the United States will have access, for the first time ever, to information about their food through a mandatory, nationwide label for food products with GMOs. The advocates that helped raise this issue to a national level should be proud of this accomplishment.
“This commonsense bill also is a step in the right direction for our nation’s farmers and food producers,” Stabenow said. “Throughout this process I worked to ensure that any agreement would recognize the scientific consensus that biotechnology is safe, while also making sure consumers have the right to know what is in their food. I also wanted a bill that prevents a confusing patchwork of 50 different rules in each state. This bill achieved all of those goals.
“Looking forward, it’s important that consumers, farmers, food manufacturers, and policy makers come together to address critical issues and pursue our shared goals of improving our food system.
I thank Senator Roberts and his staff for their bipartisan work on this agreement and call on leaders in the House to pass this bill immediately.”
Click here to read the text of the bill passed by the Senate and is being sent to the House.
Several ag groups quickly offered their thanks to the US Senate for the passage of this bill.
The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today applauded Senate passage of S. 764. The bill would enact a national disclosure standard for foods containing biotech ingredients and eliminate the possibility of a 50-state patchwork of labeling laws.
“The strong bipartisan support shown in the Senate for this bill is a victory for both the American consumer and the American farmer,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “Under this legislation, the public will be able access more information than ever before on how their food was produced. At the same time, farmers and food producers will have access to the technology needed to provide nutritious foods at reasonable costs to a growing world population.”
“Throughout this process, Senators Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow have shown a spirit to work together for the greater good that should be commended,” Conner continued. “With the Senate now having acted, it is imperative that the House of Representatives take this legislation up without delay ahead of their recess next week.”
Following Senate passage of a bill to set a national standard for the labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients, American Soybean Association (ASA) President Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del., congratulated the Senate and called on the House to take up and quickly pass the measure. In a statement, Wilkins thanked Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for their work on the bill and urged the House to act as soon as possible to provide certainty in the marketplace for the nation’s farmers and consumers:
“Tonight’s vote in the Senate has been a long time in the making, and we greatly appreciate the work by Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow. We believe that the bill they have crafted provides consumers the information they need without stigmatizing a safe and sustainable food technology, and we encourage the House to move quickly to approve this carefully crafted compromise. There is too much at stake in the marketplace to let the consequences of the Vermont law linger any longer.
“We’re grateful not only for the work of Senate Agriculture Committee leadership, but for the leadership on this issue on the House side as well. The House did its job on its voluntary bill almost a year ago and, while the Senate bill isn’t perfect, it’s the best legislation that can become law. A perfect bill that can’t pass won’t accomplish anything for the nation’s farmers or the nation’s consumers. We appreciate the efforts of Chairman Conaway, Ranking Member Peterson and Congressmen Pompeo and Butterfield, and we hope to count on their support for the bill as it moves to the House.”
National Association of Wheat Growers
Tonight, the Senate passed the GMO labeling agreement put forth by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, by a vote of 63 to 30. Following the cloture vote on Wednesday, which passed 65-32, the bill needed a simply majority to pass in the Senate.
NAWG supports the Senate’s actions in passing this agreement, which it sees as a necessary step forward in making safe and affordable food accessible to American consumers. The bill allows for a variety of labeling options that are meant to help inform consumers and will preempt the state-by-state patchwork that Vermont's law alongside other potential future state laws could cause. It is crucial that technology which has been proven to be safe for human consumption is utilized to assure food security and access to sustainably-produced food.
“We are very pleased with the Senate’s progress on this bill,” said NAWG President Gordon Stoner. “This bill represents a great step in achieving public acceptance of a reliable, safe technology. It is imperative that we provide useful and clear information to consumers that will help them see the benefit of technologies that supply safe, sustainably-produced food to American consumers.”
NAWG applauds the Senate’s actions, and encourages the House to consider and pass the bill as soon as possible.
Statement of American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall on Passage of Senate GMO Labeling Legislation
"The Senate has voted to move us one step closer to a uniform, national plan that will provide consumers easy access to information about genetically modified food. This bill is not perfect, but it would avoid the chaos of 50 different state laws and a confusing array of labels for ingredients scientifically proven safe. Now that the Senate has done its job, we ask the House to move swiftly so this needed legislation can be delivered to the President for his signature.”
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
Tonight, the Senate passed legislation by a vote of 63 to 30 for the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The bill establishes a national, uniform standard and requires companies to disclose genetically modified ingredients through digital codes rather than stigmatizing through on-package labeling. While it is a mandatory program, there are several provisions which ensure the beef industry is protected:
1. The bill exempts all animal feed from this program. Therefore, beef would not be labeled as a result of consuming GMO feed.
2. It further exempts products covered under the Federal Meat Inspection Act which are inspected by the Food Safety Inspection Service. This means that muscle cuts, ground product, etc. will not be covered by this law.
3. Mandatory disclosure only applies to products which are inspected by FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, unless the first ingredient in that product is beef. If the first ingredient is beef, then it will also be exempt from this law. There is an additional provision that says if the first ingredient is broth or water and the second ingredient is beef, then it will also be exempt. If beef falls anywhere else on the ingredient list, it will be subject to this law.
These provisions go a long way in protecting the industry from another activist-driven, anti-agriculture mandatory labeling program like the Vermont law, which went into effect last week. Senate Ag Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts from Kansas, worked hard to make sure these provisions where included and NCBA is grateful to him for his work.
The National Corn Growers Association praised the U.S. Senate for its vote today passing the Roberts-Stabenow agreement. Now NCGA urges the House to quickly take up and pass this important legislation.
"Today, our representatives in the Senate took an important step toward bringing consistency to the marketplace,' said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland. "The Roberts-Stabenow agreement ensures consumers have the access to product information they deserve without stigmatizing this safe, proven technology that America's farmers value. Now, we urge the House to build upon the Senate's work today by quickly taking up and passing this legislation."
NCGA, working with partners across the value chain, has pushed for a solution to this issue for more than two years now as a member of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food.
For more information on the need for a federal labeling standard, visit the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food by clicking here.
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