WASHINGTON — With Vermont’s state labeling mandate law for foods with bioengineered ingredients schedule to go into effect in July 2016, the Grocery Manufacturers Association is ratcheting up its calls for Congress to pass federal legislation establishing a uniform food labeling standard. 

Pamela Bailey, president, CEO, GMA

Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the GMA

The GMA is challenging the Vermont law in federal court but warned that food manufacturers must plan for its implementation. In the process, they have identified even more costs and challenges, the GMA said. Among more recently emerging concerns is a clause fining food companies up to $1,000 per day if a mislabeled product is found on Vermont shelves, even if the manufacturer was not responsible for it being in the store. The GMA estimated that national food supply chains, even with state-of-the-art supply chain logistics, could see 5 percent to 10 percent of products mislabeled in stores at any given time. This could cost the industry as much as $10 million per day, the GMA said.

“Legislation to protect our national food labeling system has strong bipartisan support, and we are pleased to see congressional committees holding hearings on the bill to understand the issues,” said Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the GMA. “It is vitally important that the committees move this bill forward so it can be considered and passed by the House this summer and then in the Senate as soon as possible.”