Leahy And Sanders Oppose Bill, Set For Senate Markup Tuesday, That Would Block Vermont’s GE Labeling Law

WASHINGTON (MONDAY, Feb. 29, 2016) – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Monday issued the following joint statement ahead of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Tuesday markup of legislation introduced by Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) that would block Vermont and other states from requiring labels on foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients or seeds that are genetically engineered.  Leahy is a leader and former chairman of the Agriculture Committee, and Sanders is a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which has jurisdiction over food labels.  Leahy also is the “father” of the national organic standards and labeling program, which also advances consumers’ right to know.

In their joint statement, Leahy and Sanders said: 

“All over this country, people are becoming more aware of and interested in the foods they eat and the products they serve to their kids.  When parents go to the store and make food choices, they have a right to know what they are feeding their families.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans favor GE labeling and we want to see a uniform national label.  We cannot allow the interests of multinational corporations to trump the interests of American consumers.  These powerful interests claim that the sky is falling, and it is not.  Our state, defending Vermonters’ right to know, has chosen to require labeling of factual, noncontroversial information for consumers.  We know the companies can do this -- firms like Campbell’s have said so.  They already are working with Vermont to comply with the labeling requirement and have labels printed and ready to go.

“We are proud that Vermont took the national lead in enacting a law to ensure that people can know what goes into the food they buy.  We will continue to do all that we can to defeat this bill.  The people of Vermont and the citizens of other states must be allowed the choice of labeling GE foods and seeds.”

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