G.M.O. Labeling Bill Moves Forward In Senate

But as Harvest Public Media's Peggy Lowe reports, it's still a food fight.

Both voted against an earlier labeling law which did not provide for mandatory national on-package GMO disclosure.

"NGA applauds those senators who voted in favor of advancing a national, uniform food labeling standard for foods containing genetically engineered ingredients", said National Grocers Association president and CEO Peter Larkin in a statement.

The legislation (S. 764), would block states from issuing mandatory labeling laws and require food manufacturers to use one of three different labels to inform consumers of the presence of GMOs in products.

Senate approval came over the strong objections of Vermont's senators - presidential contender Bernie Sanders, an independent, and Democrat Patrick Leahy.

"Many major food companies are already complying with Vermont's law", Sanders says.

This is a slap in the face for all of the activists that have worked hard to pass state-level measures because they believe strongly that labels should be transparent, and that they should decide whether or not they are purchasing and consuming foods with genetically engineered ingredients.

If this bill becomes law, companies will be allowed instead to disclose their GMO ingredients through a QR code on the package. "A national standard for GMO labeling is essential if we are to avoid the economic costs incurred by a patchwork of differing state laws".

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They said the federal government shouldn't run roughshod over a state's rules, pre-empting Vermont's law, and the federal requirements would not be consumer-friendly. “It will also undermine the efforts of other states to label GMOs.

After years of debate, the question over whether or not U.S. foods made with genetically-modified organisms should be labeled is finally coming to a head.

In a separate demonstration on Wednesday afternoon, members of the Organic Consumers Association threw money from the Senate gallery onto the floor to protest a procedural vote to advance the bill in the Senate.

The federal law, which the Senate was expected to consider later Wednesday, would supersede the first state law mandating GMO disclosure.

But those companies have a choice: They can either put a text statement or symbol directly on the food packaging itself indicating GM ingredients.

"This bipartisan bill is a win for consumers and families", Stabenow said.

"It's clear that our food manufacturers need standard guidance, and Iowans want safe and affordable food", Ernst said. Reid said when Republicans took over from him, they promised more open rules.

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