Food Industry pushes to include GMO labeling ban in year end spending bill

G W Bush delivers State of the Union Address

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Food companies are mounting an aggressive year-end push to head off mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.

The food industry wants the labeling to be voluntary, and it hopes to get a provision in a massive spending bill that Republicans and Democrats want to wrap up this week. If that becomes law, states could not require companies to disclose whether their products contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The House passed similar legislation earlier this year, but the Senate has not yet acted. Even so, food companies and farm groups say Congress must step in before Vermont becomes the first state to require GMO labels next summer. . .

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Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said she thinks the issue is too controversial for the year-end spending bill, which lawmakers must pass before leaving for the holidays. She and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., have been working to find a compromise. . .

The legislation that passed the House was sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas. In addition to blocking states from requiring the labels, it would step up FDA oversight by requiring that any new genetically engineered products be reviewed by the agency before they can be sold. That process is now voluntary for most modified foods.

It would also create a new certification process at the Agriculture Department for foods that are labeled free of GMOs.

Read full, original post: Food industry pushing halt to GMO labeling by end of year

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