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article imageSenate could vote this week on compromise GMO labeling law

By Karen Graham     Jul 7, 2016 in Food
While GMO activists threw $2,000 in small bills over the gallery rail, the U.S. Senate continued with its roll call vote to invoke cloture on a GMO-labeling bill by a 65-32 vote Wednesday. The Senate could vote on final passage as early as today.
The cloture vote is a Senate procedure that can put a stop to attempts to delay or filibuster any action on a bill. It provides for up to 30 hours of additional debate before a bill is brought up for a final vote.
This means that a final Senate vote on the bipartisan National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, S. 764, could come as early as today. And if it passes, it will then go to the House of Representatives, which last year adopted a voluntary GMO labeling bill by a large margin, according to Food Safety News.
Basically, the bill would require that food companies use either a USDA-created symbol or an electronic code to let a consumer know if genetically modified ingredients are in a product. It should be noted that some lawmakers are saying that if an electronic code is decided on, it would be biased toward people who have smartphones.
“This clears the pathway for a final vote on passage, and I remain optimistic sound science and affordable food will prevail,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), according to AgWired. “Both farmers and consumers deserve this certainty.”
But more to the point, the bill pre-empts individual states, like Vermont, from creating their own GMO labeling laws. Vermont's labeling law became effective on July 1 this year. The National Grocers Association (NGA) applauded the Senate's passage of S. 764 on Wednesday.
EPR Retail News is reporting that NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin stated: “NGA applauds those Senators who voted in favor of advancing a national, uniform food labeling standard for foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. Operating under a patchwork of state labeling laws will lead to unprecedented logistical problems for food distributors, which in turn will drive up costs for consumers and create onerous red tape for supermarket operators.”
More about GMO labeling law, compromise legislation, national grocers assn, vermont gmo law, cloture
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