Bipartisan GMO Labeling Bill Announced

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Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Senate Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow announced a new bipartisan proposal in what they say protects biotechnology and provides correct information to consumers. A mandatory labeling law goes into effect in Vermont starting in July.

The bill creates a national uniform standard for bioengineered products and requires a mandatory discloser. However, it has several options: it can be text on the package, a symbol, or just a link to a website. Small food manufacturers are allowed to use websites or telephone numbers. Very small manufacturers and restaurants are exempted.

The bill allows meat to be exempted and says animals are not bioengineered just because they ate food with GM ingredients.

If passed, this would preempt state laws. Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey is a proponent of states rights, but says the nation needs to work together with this one.

He says, "In this case in the movement of food it is important to have one national standard around labeling that allows us to be able to act as one country."

The National and Iowa Corn Growers Association urge quick passage of the labeling agreement.