The American Farm Bureau thinks lawmakers will work out an agreement soon on legislation that would stop what they call a patchwork of state GMO food labeling laws, initiated by a mandatory label law in Vermont this year.
In a 14-6 vote on Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a markup of a voluntary labeling bill. But just a third of Democrats on the committee voted yes on that bill.. and one demanded changes before she'd support it on the floor..
But the Executive Director with AFBF Dale Moore thinks that at least is progress, "The bill is out of committee and the fact that you know, the three Democrats, again I'm only basing this on years of watching the process. I got to believe that they are confident and they are assured that the chairman is going to keep working with them. Not just with them, but with the no votes as well. They had the ranking member Ms. Stabenow, voted no. They're going to continue working and they'll find some middle ground."
The American Farm Bureau strongly backs voluntary labeling that Moore says doesn't stigmatize GMO ingredients or add on grocery costs. But the fight will come down to what is on the label and whether it's voluntary or mandatory.
Just a day after the Senate Ag Committee sent the voluntary bill to the Senate, Senate Democrat from Oregon Jeff Merkley introduced a bill mandating GMO labeling nationwide.
This alternate bill gives manufactures four labeling options ranging from using a parenthesis following the ingredient to using an FDA designed symbol. None of the options require panel disclosures or warning statements.
The bill is cosponsored by former Senate Ag Chair Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Jon Tester of Montana.