July 6, 2016

One Standard on GMO Disclosure


  • The Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure dealing with bioengineered foods disclosure.
  • Individual states have begun creating a patchwork of labeling mandates, with Vermont’s rule taking effect on July 1.
  • The amendment would set a national standard and preempt state standards.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday afternoon on the motion to concur in the House amendment to S. 764 with Roberts amendment 4935. This amendment would establish a national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard.

States have been setting individual standards for disclosure, with labeling mandates in Vermont having taken effect on July 1. Connecticut and Maine also have passed state standards, but they will not implement their laws until several nearby states also create state standards. Legislatures in New Jersey, Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, and Massachusetts are considering their own labeling standards.

States take labeling into their own hands, starting a patchwork effect

GMO-food-labeling-patchwork-map

Some stakeholders in the food industry are concerned about costs associated with navigating a complicated patchwork of state standards. They believe consumers should have the opportunity to see all relevant information on labels so they can make food choices based on their own views about its perceived quality or safety. State legislatures in Michigan and North Dakota have passed legislation urging Congress to pass a uniform labeling standard.

The amendment’s national disclosure standard would preempt state standards and prevent states and other entities from mandating labels of food or seed that are genetically engineered. The legislation also allows food manufacturers to choose an option of on-package or off-package disclosure for conveying that information to consumers. The amendment is a bipartisan agreement struck by Senators Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow.

Issue Tag: Energy