Lawmaker proposes federal voluntary GMO labeling bill

by Keith Nunes
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Senator Pat Roberts, Kansas
Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas has introduced a bill that would make the labeling of genetically modified ingredients in food and beverage products voluntary.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas has introduced a bill that would make the labeling of genetically modified ingredients in food and beverage products voluntary. The legislation would also preempt any state efforts, such as the law in Vermont that goes into effect July 1, to pass legislation requiring the mandatory labeling of food or beverage products made with bioengineered ingredients.

Senator Roberts, chairman of the Senate’s committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, has scheduled a meeting on Feb. 25 to consider the legislation and mark it up.

Reaction to the proposed legislation has fallen along clearly defined lines, with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the International Dairy Foods Association and many other food and beverage trade association’s supporting the proposal.

Such groups as the Environmental Working Group and Friends of the Earth have come out in opposition to the legislation.

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