The bill instructs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a national labeling standard within two years "that requires food producers to use text, symbols or QR codes consumers can scan with a smartphone to find out if a product contains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs". Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowGroup drops, 000 on Senate floor to protest GMO bill What Senate backers aren't saying about the GMO "compromise" bill Overnight Regulation: FDA raises concerns over GMO labeling bill MORE (D-Mich.) and Sen.
Certain farm associations and beverage company have praised the legislation. "From my perspective, it's not the best possible bill, but it's the best bill possible under the hard circumstances we find ourselves in today", said Senator Pat Roberts, who helped write the legislation.
"If passed by the House, the legislation would establish a federal framework for labeling and prevent a state-by-state patchwork of mandates that would only confuse consumers and increase food prices".
"The overwhelming majority of food and agriculture is voicing support for this bill with the members of the U.S. Senate", Charla Lord, the company's spokeswoman, said.
The organization is planning to speak with members of House committees that could be involved in the bill's movement, he said.
The Roberts-Stabenow bill will undermine the strong GMO labeling law that went into effect July 1 in Vermont, Sanders wrote in the letter.
"This bipartisan bill is a win for consumers and families", Stabenow said. That bill had generated a push for a federal law to preempt a "hodgepodge" of state-level that could have been confusing or included differing standards, said Gordon. But mandatory GMO labeling of any kind would still be seen as a loss for Big Food, which has spent millions lobbying against it.
Small manufacturers and restaurants also will be exempt. "We appreciate Sen. Fischer's support of this bill and hope it will move quickly through the House so that the President may sign it before Vermont's needless labeling law inflicts any more damage on our nation's agricultural economy".
Under the Senate bill, a narrow definition of GMO food ingredients would subject fewer products to the labeling requirement. The bill has drawn accolades from farmers, consumers, and advocates in the food industry because it would override GMO labeling laws enacted by individual states, such as Vermont's labeling law, which by the way, is more stringent. Roberts and Stabenow gave to reach a solution on this issue that reaffirms the federal government's role in food labeling policy.
I think GMO labelling is a awful idea - not because we should hide or somehow keep ingredients secret, but because we can't inform a public that is ignorant about genetics and genomics. Only a handful of genetically engineered fruits and vegetables are available in the produce aisle, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and some sweet corn. The domestic sugar market has been strained by rising demand for non-GMO ingredients like cane sugar.
The United States is the world's largest market for food made with genetically modified ingredients.
Genetically modified foods are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA.
"It's fair to say that it's not the ideal bill, but it is certainly the bill that can pass, which is the most important right now", said American Soybean Association's (ASA) director of policy communications Patrick Delaney.
That last part has been a sticking point, even among politicians that are for the labels.