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Grower News: Update on GMO Labeling Standards

Here’s an important update on GMO Labeling Standards.

On February, 25, 2015, the American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed legislation introduced Friday by Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts to create a national framework for labeling foods with bioengineered ingredients.

The result of extensive effort between the ASA, the Coalition for Safe, Affordable Food and Senate leadership, the bill reflects the vital need to find a path forward on the GMO issue before a controversial labeling law takes effect in Vermont in July.

Reflecting the urgency of the issue, Chairman Roberts announced that committee markup of the bill will take place on March 1, 2016 at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill.

“We’ve heard repeatedly that Americans want more information on what’s in their food, and we are invested in providing that information to them” said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, Delaware.

“Chairman Roberts’ bill is one that moves the food production industry in a direction of greater transparency, while at the same time protecting farmers’ ability to use what science has repeatedly proven to be a safe and sustainable technology” Wilkins added.

The Roberts bill instructs the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a set of standards for labeling foods that may or do contain bioengineered ingredients within two years.

The bill also directs USDA to conduct an outreach and education campaign on the safety of bioengineered food.

Finally, the bill would preempt a patchwork of conflicting state labeling laws.

“As growers, our primary concern is the ability to continue to produce food in the quantity and of the quality that American consumers demand, and we are acutely aware of consumers’ desire for us to reduce our impact on the environment in the process,” said Wilkins. “This is the dual promise of bioengineering. It has been proven safe repeatedly for nearly 20 years.” he continued.

“We commend Chairman Roberts for his work,” added Wilkins, “and we will work with offices on both sides of the aisle to underscore just how important a national solution is in advance of the Vermont law.”