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article imageHouse passes GMO labeling bill, now heads to president's desk

By Karen Graham     Jul 14, 2016 in Politics
A bill to create a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients and block individual states from issuing their own labeling laws easily passed through the House of Representatives on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the House voted 242-185 on a rules resolution that barred amendments to the bill, halting its return to the Senate for another vote. Today, the House voted 306 to 117 to pass the bill.
The bill mandates that the U.S. Department of Agriculture create a national labeling standard that allows food producers to choose how they want to disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients. The legislation also will nullify Vermont's state GMO labeling law.
Under this legislation, manufacturers will be given the choice of using text, symbols or a QR code that consumers must scan with a smartphone to obtain the information, reports The Hill.
Many Democrats and consumer groups have slammed the legislation, calling it "anti-consumer." Critics claim the bill's addition of the QR code option in labeling is discriminatory to those consumers who don't have smartphones. In other words, our lawmakers chose to listen to food manufacturers instead of the public.
"It was at the behest of big industry that the QR code be listed as an option,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said when he was debating the bill on the floor Wednesday. “Not what's in the interest of the American consumer, but what a few special interests want”
EcoWatch writes that many critics of the watered-down GMO labeling legislation have nicknamed the bill the "Deny Americans the Right to Know," or DARK Act because the bill goes against the majority of consumers who support the clear and concise labeling of GMOs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also expressed concerns about the bill, saying it is ridden with loopholes. As was reported on July 8 in Digital Journal, the FDA pointed out the bill's narrow and ambiguous definition of "bioengineering" that would exempt many foods from GMO sources.
Even with it taking a federal law to get food manufacturers to comply with the public's right to know what is in their food, a number of major food companies, including General Mills, Campbell Soup, Kellogg, Conagra Foods and Mars, have already voluntarily added GMO labels on their packages.
Additionally, on Thursday, yogurt maker Dannon announced that its products sold in the U.S. will have any GMO ingredients clearly labeled. This is being done as they unveil their first Dannon and Oikos branded products using more natural and non-GMO ingredients.
More about GMO labeling bill, mandatory labeling, genetically modified organism, House of Representatives, President obama
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