US Senate approves nationwide labeling law for GMO food products

Debbie Stabenow of MI, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Democrat Richard Blumenthal says the Senate measure is misguided and betrays the desires of 90 percent of the American people. It now goes to the House, which has voted before to prevent states from passing their own labeling laws, and has passed a voluntary labeling standard.

The new federal standard, if approved, would pre-empt Vermont's law. This bill would provide consumers with access to more product information than ever before without stigmatizing a safe and proven technology that is a central part of modern food production.

He and other opponents wanted something closer to the GMO-labeling law that just went into effect in his home state of Vermont (and which the federal bill would dismantle).

Upon introduction into the Senate, Senator Stabenow emphasized that there was no scientific controversy over the safety of growing and eating genetically modified foods.

Their biggest gripe involves the bill's loose definition of the term "label" in the first place: Companies get three options for how they want to admit their product contains a GM ingredient (a thing that's now very unpopular with Americans). Critics also decry the ability of companies to use a smartphone scan code to signal the presence of GMOs, saying words or symbols on food packages are less confusing. But despite years of fear and concern over the prevalence of genetically engineered ingredients in the American food supply-the majority of both corn and soybeans grown in the USA are genetically modified-no research has shown that consuming such foods presents a risk to human health. The bill is widely supported by all sectors of the food industry, including all major farm organizations, food manufacturers and retailers. “I urge you to oppose the current Roberts-Stabenow language, and instead support my comprehensive national labeling amendment, which would provide what almost 9 out of 10 consumers want.”.

Stabenow said she was "opposed to voluntary labeling at every turn".

Protesters briefly disrupted the Senate during the vote.

Vermonts GMO labeling law, which was signed into law in 2014 by Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, took effect on July 1.

For now, some companies such as Campbell Soup and General Mills have made their packaging nationwide comply with Vermont's law. Hirono said. "We need to make sure that the final label options are as clear as possible and the regulatory process takes the concerns of Hawai'i farmers and consumers into account".

Late last night, Senate passed its GMO-labeling bill with a vote of 63 to 30.

But some say there's a problem with allowing labeling via digital links and phone numbers. The state's law confused some local retailers.

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