House Passes GMO Labeling Legislation
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation establishing a national standard for labeling food containing GMOs. Major fruit and vegetable associations praised the passage of the legislation.
United Fresh Produce Association released a statement from its President and CEO, Tom Stenzel:
“United Fresh applauds the strong bipartisan passage by the House of Representatives of legislation that, for the first time, establishes federal standards for the labeling of GMO foods. Last week, the Senate passed the bill in a similarly bipartisan fashion and now the measure goes to President Obama, who has indicated he will sign it in to law.
“We support enactment of this measure because we believe it provides much-needed clarity for the food and agriculture sector, as well as consumers. The bill puts the requirement for labeling on those companies that introduce these foods into the marketplace, which may reduce the pressure on companies to seek ‘non-GMO’ verified labeling. At the same time, the bill provides significant flexibility to companies with genetically engineered foods as to the manner of labeling, whether on package text, symbol, or link to a website.
“Finally, this bill would provide for a coherent national labeling program, preventing the 50-state nightmare that might otherwise arise. The bill is widely supported by all sectors of the food industry, including all major farm organizations, food manufacturers and retailers. United Fresh will continue to work with other industry stakeholders and regulators to ensure this measure provides clear, consistent, science-based standards for GMO labeling.”
Dr. Bob Whitaker, Produce Marketing Association’s Chief Science and Technology Officer, also commended the passage of the legislation.
“We thank the leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees for their bipartisan work on this important bill on behalf of the entire agriculture community, specifically: Senate committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); and House committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN). That said, PMA is concerned about the precedent that this legislation sets by requiring disclosure of information that does not impact human health and safety. There is broad scientific consensus that foods from GE (genetically engineered) crops are safe, as concluded a recent report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
“Generally, PMA plans to continue to advocate for a flexible food production system that doesn’t curtail the innovation that fresh produce and other food producers will need to feed the world’s growing population. Specific to this law, PMA will closely monitor USDA’s rulemaking process and work to ensure that the fresh produce industry’s voice is represented if/as needed.”
In addition, USApple is applauding the passage of this legislation, as its position has been that it will only support a labeling law founded in science and that fosters national uniformity.
To continue discovering new and valuable benefits from apples, USApple supports advancements from technology including genetics and genomics research, according to a USApple Member Alert. Benefits can include attributes such as improved quality, new varieties, new aromatic flavor profiles, improved pest resistance, and enhanced nutrition.