Vilsack will attempt to hash out GMO labeling before VT law takes effect in July

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The food industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders in the debate over how to label products containing genetically modified ingredients are expected to be summoned to the Agriculture Department [in early January] to try to resolve the contentious issue.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said there is growing urgency to reach a compromise with Vermont’s law that would require labels on foods that contain genetically modified organisms expected to take effect in July. If Vermont’s initiative withstands a legal challenge, proponents say it could give momentum to similar measures being considered in more than a dozen other states.

“I’m going to challenge them to get this thing fixed. I would like to avoid making food more expensive,” Vilsack said in an interview from his office overlooking the National Mall. He did not specify who would be invited to the meeting . . .

Some lawmakers hoped to include a ban on state labeling laws in a $1.1 trillion spending package, but it was left out of the 2,009-page bill. . .

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been mulling genetically modified labeling legislation for years, but the bills have failed to gain much traction.

A few House and Senate Republicans have pledged to focus again next year on legislation preventing states from enacting labeling laws. But Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told reporters there is not enough support in the Senate. . .

“I wouldn’t put real good odds on having something like that done before Vermont would go into effect,” he said.

Read full, original post: Vilsack calls opposing sides of GMO labeling debate to table

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