The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have commended the US Senate for approving legislation that would establish a federal labeling standard for food and beverage products made with genetically enhanced ingredients, otherwise known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Introduced by Senators Pat Roberts (Republican of Kansas) and Debbie Stabenow (Democrat of Michigan), the legislation (S. 764) preempts state GMO labeling laws and empowers the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a uniform, national labeling program. The measure, which was approved by a vote of 63-30, requires on-pack disclosure of GMOs through a variety of methods, including Quick Response Codes, a symbol, 1-800 numbers and website referrals.
“AFFI applauds the Senate for approving legislation to create a federal program for the labeling of foods containing genetically enhanced ingredients,” said Alison Bodor, president and ceo of the McLean, Virginia-based trade association. “Advancing this legislation, with bipartisan support, is an important milestone towards bolstering consumer confidence, while giving frozen food and beverage makers the certainty they require to meet the needs of America’s consumers.”
Leslie G. Sarasin, president and ceo of the FMI and former head of AFFI, also cheered results of the bipartisan vote.
“FMI applauds the Senate’s favorable action on this critical agriculture biotechnology labeling legislation and calls on the House of Representatives to also act on this time-sensitive bill before it recesses (for the pending summer break),” she said. “The development of a single national GMO labeling standard is absolutely essential to avoid the consumer confusion that will emerge from a patchwork of differing state laws, conflicting definitions and divergent labeling criteria regarding biotechnology. The Roberts-Stabenow agreement will allow consumers the opportunity to receive accurate and accessible information they desire by offering the food industry an efficient, economical and orderly means of providing such information.”