On July 7, the U.S. Senate passed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, preventing individual states from creating laws requiring labeling of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of United Fresh Produce Association, provided context.
“United Fresh applauds the historic passage of legislation crafted by Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan that establishes federal standards for the labeling of GMO foods. The Senate language passed on a strong, bipartisan vote of 63-30 and provides much-needed clarity for the food and agriculture sector, as well as consumers. The bill puts the requirement for labeling on those companies that introduce these foods into the marketplace, which may reduce the pressure on companies to seek “non-GMO” verified labeling.
“At the same time, the bill provides significant flexibility to companies with genetically engineered foods as to the manner of labeling, whether on package text, symbol, or link to a website. Finally, this bill would provide for a coherent national labeling program, preventing the 50-state nightmare that might otherwise arise. The bill is widely supported by all sectors of the food industry, including all major farm organizations, food manufacturers and retailers. United Fresh urges the House of Representatives to pass this measure as soon as possible and send it to the President for his signature.”
Health Canada does not require labeling on GM food because the items have been assessed for safety and nutritional standards.