House Ag panel lawmakers express support for amended Pompeo GMO label bill

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, June 18, 2014 - A bipartisan group of 30 lawmakers from the House Agriculture Committee have written the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to express their support for the latest version of legislation that would preempt state efforts to require labeling of food products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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As amended, H.R.1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., “would enhance label transparency and consumer choice by creating a voluntary process for the certification of food that does not contain agricultural technology,” the lawmakers said in their letter. “This approach is similar to programs that already exist at USDA and makes full use of USDA's expertise in development of world-recognized process-based certification programs.”

Copies of the letter were released Thursday as the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the issue. The letter was addressed to Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-N.J., as well as to Joe Pitts, R-Pa., chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health, and that panel's ranking member, Gene Green, D-Tex.

The letter pointed out that 26 states currently have some form of biotech labeling legislation pending.

“These proposals, if enacted, would establish inconsistent and unworkable policies that would burden consumers with additional costs and competing panels,” the lawmakers said. “Entrepreneurs, as well as established food processors and distributors would be forced to create myriad labels whose only benefit would be to satisfy the minutiae of each state's labeling schemes. Increasing consumer costs and confusion should not be the result of a sound, thoughtful policy.”

The letter and a list of the signatories can be seen by clicking here

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