06.23.16

Comments On New Bill To Require Mandatory National GMO Labeling

Leahy Comments On New Bill To Require Mandatory National GMO Labeling

. . . Leahy Had Led Vermont’s Successful Efforts To Derail An Earlier Bill
To Nullify Vermont’s Law And To Replace It With A Solely Voluntary National Scheme

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, June 23, 2016) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday commented on a new agreement reached between Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and the panel’s ranking member, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) for a bill to institute mandatory national GMO labeling. Their bill would nullify Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which takes effect on July 1. Leahy notes that a bill by Roberts and Stabenow would not be able to reach the President’s desk for signing by July 1. The House is now in recess until July 5.

Leahy on March 16 led Vermont’s successful efforts to derail an earlier bill by Roberts, which would have nullified Vermont’s law, without establishing a national labeling requirement. The Senate on March 16 sided with Leahy and sidelined the Roberts bill. The Roberts bill would have blocked Vermont’s labeling law and proposed a solely voluntary effort and a complicated scannable code scheme that Leahy said would have kept Americans in the dark about what they're eating and feeding their families.

On the Roberts-Stabenow agreement, Leahy said: “The agreement between Senators Stabenow and Roberts would put the country on a path toward a mandatory, national label for GMO foods. I have always strongly believed that consumers have a right to know what is in the food they buy and serve their families. That is a foundational principle of the Organic Foods Production Act that I wrote and enacted in 1990.” That Leahy law established the national organic standards and labeling program that has earned consumers’ trust and propelled the U.S. organic farming sector into multi-billion-dollar growth. Leahy is a leading member and a former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Leahy continued: “Without Vermont’s leadership, we would not even be having this debate in Congress. Nonetheless, I am concerned that this agreement is poised to preempt Vermont’s Act 120 and could leave many consumers with complicated scanning codes rather than simple on-package labels or symbols. I intend to carefully review the proposal and hope all Vermonters will do the same. There are few issues on which I have heard more from Vermonters in recent years than GE labeling, and I hope Vermonters will share their thoughts with me about this new proposal.”

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