Senators seek to preempt states from GMO laws

During a late night vote Thursday, July 7, the Senate approved a compromise bill by a 63-30 vote that would mandate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. But as Harvest Public Media's Peggy Lowe reports, it's still a food fight.

"If we allow individual states to do GMO labeling, it hurts our agricultural community significantly", said LaHood.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood says he'll give a Senate proposal on GMO food labeling a chance.

The bill's requirements are far less demanding than a Vermont law, which requires labels such as "produced with genetic engineering", "partially produced with genetic engineering", or "may be produced with genetic engineering".

Food companies favor a federal standard and have complained that different labeling laws by state would confuse people and be expensive.

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He said at a news conference this week that major food manufacturers have already begun labeling products with GMO ingredients to meet the new law in his home state. The bill would force food companies nationwide to disclose genetically modified ingredients in their products, but opponents have complained it's toothless because it imposes no penalties for noncompliance and seems to exempt a variety of genetically engineered foods.

The USDA estimates that 24,000 more products would require disclosure under the Senate's regulation compared with the Vermont law. Instead, a QR code would simply be accompanied by text that reads, "Scan here for more information". QR code that requires a smartphone.

Stabenow voted against a more complete GMO labeling bill in March, Politico noted, immediately after augmenting her campaign coffers at a fundraiser by organic food industry executives.

Supporters of the bill praised the Senate action and urged the House to quickly approve the measure next week before lawmakers recess.

"Regardless of your position on GMOs", said Sen.

Grassley said a bill was needed "to prevent a single state from dictating food labeling laws to the rest of the country". But there are concerns that the specific language of the bill would provide a loophole for processed sugars and fats made from GMO crops that would not require disclosures.

"We will now turn our full attention to working with the House and explaining why this is the right solution for farmers, food companies and consumers", said Charles Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

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