Several agricultural groups applauded the introduction of legislation to create a national, science-based labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms and urged Congress to quickly pass the bill.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), will ensure that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration remains the authority on food safety and labeling in the United States.
Additionally, by establishing federal standards around a voluntary GMO-free label, this bill strikes an important balance between providing consumers choice and clarity in the grocery aisle and protecting a technology that is vital to American farmers.
“Farmers and consumers agree on the need for clear, consistent labeling. Labels should be science-based and uniform in all 50 states,” said Chip Bowling, National Corn Growers Association president. “In the absence of a national solution to GMO labeling, we risk increased food prices for American families and continued confusion in the marketplace.
“This legislation provides a common-sense solution for American consumers looking for additional information about the food they buy, while providing certainty to the farmers who produce it. We urge Congress to support it.”
The bill provides a solution to the challenge of state led labeling efforts that could lead to confusing and costly food labels.
“State-led mandatory food labeling initiatives mislead consumers about the safety of GM foods, even though there is no credible evidence linking a food-safety or health risk to the consumption of GM foods. These state labeling initiatives mask the benefits of biotechnology in food production and can lead to decreased food supplies. Creating a national labeling standard will give consumers the information they need while avoiding the unnecessary confusion and added cost of a patchwork of state laws,” said Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, but they shouldn’t be misinformed about what’s safe, or forced to pay higher prices unnecessarily. Thanks to innovation, farmers and ranchers have new and improved methods to increase their efficiency while preserving farmland for generations to come. Farmers benefit from choice and so should consumers.”