President signs GMO labeling bill

by Jeff Gelski
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Campbell's Spaghetti-O's with GMO label
Food companies can disclose the presence of GMOs by text on the package, a symbol on the package or a link to a web site (a quick response code or similar technology).
 
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on July 29 signed S. 754, which directs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard.

 

The law nullifies the Vermont mandatory GMO labeling law that took effect July 1. The law requires food manufacturers to disclose the presence of bioengineered ingredients in one of three ways: text on the package, a symbol on the package or a link to a web site (a quick response code or similar technology).

Many in the food industry support the law.

Pamela G. Bailey, Grocery Manufacturers Association
Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association

“This legislation will open a new era for transparency in ingredient information for consumers, by requiring disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients for families in every state across the nation,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Its consistent national standard is far better than a costly and confusing patchwork of different state labeling. The president’s signing of this legislation also stops, effective immediately, Vermont’s mandatory on-package labeling law that went into effect July 1 and already has left consumers in the state with fewer products on the shelves and higher compliance costs for small businesses.”

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Just Label It and co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, New Hampshire, urged food companies to go with the option of putting “clear and simple” labels on their products.

“Consumers have already begun to see GMO labeling disclosures on many familiar food packages as companies prepared to comply with Vermont’s groundbreaking law,” he said. “In the wake of the creation of a national, mandatory labeling system, Campbell’s, Mars and Dannon have already publicly committed to keeping this simple disclosure on their packages as USDA sorts out the rules for implementation of this new law. I have sent a letter to other industry leaders asking them to publicly commit to keeping consumers out of the dark when it comes to GMOs in our food.”

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