Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Genetic Labeling: Take #2

The State of Vermont has passed a statute mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods as of July 1, 2016. Other states have considered and are considering similar legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to preempt all state legislation on the labeling of genetic engineering. The Senate failed by a vote of 48-49 to preempt the states, falling well short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate.
Several major companies have now made independent decisions to label their products as made with genetic engineering given the vacuum left by the Senate. They are making the best of a bad situation but the right solution is still federal preemption coupled with a national system of transparency. ConAgra made that point in their statement:
“ConAgra Foods will begin adding labels to products nationwide by July 2016 to meet Vermont's GMO labeling requirements. We stand behind the health and safety of all of our products, including those with genetically modified ingredients, and believe consumers should be informed as to what's in their food. But addressing state-by-state labeling requirements adds significant complications and costs for food companies. With a multitude of other states currently considering different GMO labeling requirements, the need for a national, uniform approach in this area is as critical as ever. That's why we continue to urge Congress to pass a national solution as quickly as possible.”
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