New GMO bill to be discussed in Senate committee
A second federal bill to create a national labeling standard now has a committee to discuss its future. S. 2621, or the Biotechnology Food Labeling Uniformity Act, would create a national standard for labeling food with genetically modified organisms without overriding state law.
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, but a hearing hasn’t been scheduled.
The bill was sponsored by Senate members in response to a voluntary labeling bill originally approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee. That bill was voted down 49-48 March 16.
The new bill is co-sponsored by five Senate democrats, including Sen. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, both from Vermont. In July, Vermont will be the first state with mandatory labeling of foods made with GMO food products.
This bill will make labeling products that contain GMO products, with limited exceptions, required. The labels would have some flexibility on how the label would look.
Two options allow for the words “genetically engineered” or “GE” to follow GMO ingredients or an asterisk to denote GMO ingredients. The other options require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to have a statement or symbol to disclose the product has GMO products.
The bill was officially assigned to the committee March 2, two weeks before the bill it was created to counter was killed in the Senate. ❖