Sen. Merkley’s mandatory GMO labeling bill backed by Campbell Soup unlikely to pass

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. . .Senator Jeff Merkley* (D-OR) has introduced a ‘common-sense’ alternative he claims will please supporters of mandatory GMO labeling, but offer the food industry a more palatable means of presenting this information.

The Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act, which has the backing of selected food companies including Amy’s Kitchen, Ben and Jerry’s, Campbell Soup and Nature’s Path – would trump all state- led GMO labeling laws, including the one about to come into effect in Vermont on July 1.

And while it would require mandatory GMO labeling on the back of pack, it would not require front of pack disclosures or ‘warning’ statements intending to disparage GM ingredients, stressed Merkley.

. . .

The four labeling options suggested in Sen Merkley’s bill are:

1. Manufacturers can insert the phrase ‘genetically engineered’ in parenthesis after any GE ingredients on the ingredients list.

2. Manufacturers can identify GM ingredients with an asterisk and provide an explanation at the bottom of the ingredients list.

3. Manufacturers may apply a catch-all statement at the end of the ingredient list stating the product was “produced with genetic engineering.”

4. The FDA could develop a symbol, in consultation with food manufacturers, that would show presence of GM ingredients on packaging.

However, the food industry-backed Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF), which is supporting Senator Roberts’ voluntary GMO labeling bill, dismissed Sen Merkley’s bill as unworkable.

A spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA: “. . .Mandatory on package labeling is reserved for important health and safety information. . . this doesn’t apply to biotech labeling because the overwhelming scientific consensus shows that GMOs are completely safe.”

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