WASHINGTON — The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry by a 14-to-6 vote approved a bill establishing a national voluntary bioengineered food labeling standard and preempting any state or local laws that would require the mandatory labeling of such foods.

Several committee members expressed the importance of advancing the bill promptly to the full Senate in view of the fact Vermont’s mandatory labeling bill takes effect July 1. Some committee members voted to advance the bill while stating their vote on the final legislation would be contingent on improvements that they said were required to address the concerns of citizens who want to know whether their food was manufactured by means of bioengineering.