Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, has proposed legislation that would usurp state GMO labeling laws. The law is meant to oppose the mandatory labeling laws that have been passed in Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut as well as the more than 70 bills that have been proposed in over 30 states. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act provides for voluntary certification and would allow companies to advertise if they’re GMO-free while at the same time overriding mandatory state labeling laws.
“We took the positive feedback we received after our hearing in December and have been meeting with key stakeholders to ensure this is the right policy for both producers and consumers,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo in a statement. “Our goal for this legislation remains to provide clarity and transparency in food labeling, support innovation, and keep food affordable.”
“The potential for a 50 state patchwork of varying labeling standards would increase costs for producers and translate into higher prices for consumers to the tune of more than $500 per year for the average family,” said. Rep. G. K. Butterfield in a statement. “This bill will provide clear rules for producers and certainty for consumers at the grocery store checkout lane.”
But GMO labeling advocates like Food & Water Watch have harshly criticized the bill, saying that it actually prevents transparency.
“[I]t would allow corporations that make and use GMOs to continue to keep quiet about them, and it would keep the rest of us in the dark (in fact, some of our allies are calling this the DARK, or the Denying Americans the Right to Know, Act),” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch in a statement. “States that have already passed GMO labeling laws could be prevented from implementing their laws to require labels.”
Labeling advocates dispute fears of cost increases, saying they’re meant to mislead consumers and are in fact completely inaccurate. Even still, consumers are largely in favor of mandatory GMO labeling. In fact, two-thirds of Americans want labeling and only 7 percent say that they’re against it.
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