Monday, May 27th, 2019

GMO Labeling Bill Passes Senate, Headed For House Vote

Published on July 10, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

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Derrick Broze

The U.S. Senate has approved a controversial bill which would create a federal standard for labeling foods that contain genetically engineered or modified ingredients. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved the “Agriculture Biotechnology Solution” bill  which will require foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled with words, pictures, or a QR code that must be scanned by a smartphone. The Senate voted 63 to 30 to approve the bill after a controversial cloture vote on Wednesday. The bill will now head to the House of Representatives for a vote. If approved in the House the bill would go on to President Obama to be signed into law.

“Food ingredients like beet sugar and soybean oil, which can be derived from genetically-engineered crops but contain next to no genetic material by the time they are processed, may not fall under the law’s definition of a bioengineered food, critics say,” Reuters reported.

 

Other critics of the bill say that GMO corn may also be excluded from the bill. This means that beet sugar, soy, and corn (the crops which are among the most genetically modified in the world) might not be covered under the current language of the bill.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised concerns about the involvement of the USDA in a list of worries sent in a June 27 memo to the Senate Agriculture Committee,” Reuters noted.

Thursday’s vote came after a contentious vote on Wednesday which invoked cloture, a rule that prevents attempts to delay or filibuster a bill. The U.S. Senate voted 65 to 32 in favor of cloture, forcing an up-or-down vote to take place within 30 hours.

During the cloture vote members of the Organic Consumers Associationprotested the vote by throwing money from the Senate gallery onto the floor. The Hill reported that protesters yelled “Monsanto Money” and “Sen. Stabenow, listen to the people, not Monsanto” while $2,000 fell to the floor.

U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenowpreviously called the bill “an important path forward that represents a true compromise. Since time is of the essence, we urge our colleagues to move swiftly to support this bill.” Roberts said if his colleagues do not act on the bill now Vermont’s law will cause confusion in the marketplace. The bill would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture two years to write the labeling rules.

The bipartisan bill would immediately prohibit states and cities from passing labeling laws for genetically modified or engineered ingredients. Genetically modified or engineered seeds are engineered to have certain traits, such as resistance to herbicides. The majority of the United States’ corn and soybean crops are now GE, including a large portion that is used for animal feed.

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