President Barack Obama today signed into law historic legislation that will protect growers from the severe impacts of disparaging state labeling laws and provide consumers with a nationwide transparent food disclosure system for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The bipartisan Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling and disclosure bill, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, was supported by major grower industry groups, such as the United Fresh Produce Association and the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF).
The bill, which includes federal preemption of GMO state labeling, passed earlier this month with broad bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, and goes into effect immediately upon President Obama’s signature.
“We are very pleased that President Obama has signed this vitally important legislation into law, creating a sensible disclosure standard that is transparent and consistent across all 50 states,” said Pamela G. Bailey, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and CFSAF co-chair. “Over the last two years, our growing coalition of agriculture and food groups from farm to fork has proven to be a strong and effective advocate before policymakers on this issue.”
“As Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts has observed, America’s food-producing community has never been more united behind an issue,” said Charles F. Conner, CFSAF co-chair and President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “As this law enters the rule-making process at USDA, the same farm to fork coalition that helped get this bill enacted into law will work to ensure that implementation is squarely in line with Congressional intent and in a manner that best serves consumers, farmers and food companies.”
GMO opponents, such as Food Democracy Now!, which labeled the bill the “Monsanto Protection Act,” were predictably dismayed.
“President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act over the urgent pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who asked that he use his executive authority to veto it,” stated the organization’s website. “Today we’re calling on President Obama to issue an executive order to call for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.”