A White House spokeswoman said the administration anticipated signing the bill in its current form. CT approved a GMO-labeling law in 2013, but the measure contained a trigger clause that stipulated it would only take effect if at least four other states with a combined population of 20 million people enacted similar legislation. The Agriculture Department would have two years to write the rules.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall said, "House passage of GMO disclosure legislation means we now begin the work of putting in place a uniform, national labeling system that will provide balanced, accurate information to consumers".
"Today's vote is a resounding victory not only for consumers and common sense but also for the tremendous coalition of agricultural and food organizations that came together in unprecedented fashion to get this solution passed", she said. By reasserting the federal government's role in regulating food labeling, the Congress is ending the "death by a thousand cuts' approach of potentially conflicting state laws in this area".
Nassif said he did not anticipate the bill having an immediate impact on the fresh produce industry since the majority of produce is grown without genetically modified seeds. Alternately, House members could try to iron out differences between their version of the bill, approved a year ago, and the Senate bill. On the other hand, packages would not have to bear special labels such as those required by the Vermont law (Act 120).
"If there is an acknowledgement about the right of a consumer to have access to information, why not give them the information in plain and simple English?" asked Welch on the House floor. The Senate passed the bill on July 7.
But Maine state Sen.
"Pro-GMO labeling efforts now need to focus on effective implementation that delivers what all consumers want and deserve", Hirshberg continued.
Although the bill still must be signed by President Obama, he has indicated he will approve it. In a 306 to 117 vote. It will not extend to plants or other food products created with CRISPR, a new and more precise gene-editing technology.
That's in part because the bill says the "bioengineered" label only applies to foods that contain genetic materials. Numerous GMO products will be exempt from labeling requirements due to the wording of the legislation.