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GMO Labelling Bill Passed in US

18 July 2016

US - New legislation designed to offer consumers more information about genetically engineered ingredients in their food passed in the US House of Representatives yesterday on a vote of 306-117.

The new legislation was crafted by US Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Mr Roberts commented: “I’m pleased that Members of the House today sided with sound science and the American farmer." He added his praise for the unity of over 1000 organisations that supported the bill.

The bill says that bioengineered foods will not be treated as safer or less safe than non-bioengineered foods. It stated that an animal would not be "considered a bioengineered food solely because the animal consumed feed produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered substance".

Companies will also be allowed to give information about foods containing GMO ingredients using a telephone number or website link instead of on-pack labelling.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented: "Today's House passage of GMO disclosure legislation means we now begin the work of putting in place a uniform, national labelling system that will provide balanced, accurate information to consumers.

"Genetically engineered crops have a decades-long track record of safety and benefits for agricultural productivity and our environment. This legislation helps to continue those benefits by avoiding the confusion of differing and potentially misleading labelling standards from state to state. The next stop is the president's desk."

However, many others were not so happy with the bill, suggesting it does not offer true clarity to consumers. US Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) voted against the legislation and called it a "sham".

“Food labelling needs to be simple and clear,” Mr Buchanan said. “QR codes and telephone numbers do not meet that definition. What mother shopping with her children is going to stop in the middle of the food aisle to call a company or go on a website to check the content of every product they would like to buy?”

 

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