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Establishing a national framework for the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) took another step forward with the introduction [February 19] of a bill by Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) to help find a path forward on the issue before Vermont’s labeling law goes into effect this July.
The bill instructs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a set of standards within two years for labeling foods that do contain or may contain bioengineering and to conduct an outreach and education campaign on the safety of bioengineered food. Additionally, the bill would pre-empt a patchwork of conflicting labeling laws at the state level.
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Agricultural groups were quick to compliment Roberts for the bill’s introduction, saying it was a fair resolution for both agriculture and consumers as it provides consistency in the marketplace.
Brian Baenig, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) executive vice president of food and agriculture, said the bill advances a commonsense solution to the GMO food labeling issue. . .
“We want consumers to know more about food and farming, but that information needs to be truthful and conveyed in a way that doesn’t stigmatize beneficial farming methods such as biotechnology,” Baenig said. . . .
Richard Wilkins, American Soybean Assn. president, said, “As growers, our primary concern is the ability to continue to produce food in the quantity and of the quality that American consumers demand, and we are acutely aware of consumers’ desire for us to reduce our impact on the environment in the process. This is the dual promise of bioengineering. . . .we can’t stand by while a small subset of activists willfully misinterprets and misrepresents bioengineering to advance their agenda.”
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