Potential Deal Reached on Senate GMO Labeling Bill

Many Americans are concerned about the contents of their favorite food items, and efforts to mandate the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have proven to be popular. For instance, one recent poll by The Mellman Group found that 89 percent of likely 2016 presidential election voters support laws that mandate the labeling of foods containing GMOs.

"Anytime a new labeling regulation comes down the pipeline, companies face increased costs."

Thus far, progress on this goal has largely been contained on the state level. Effective July 1, Vermont will be the first state in the nation to require such products to be marked with a label stating that they are "produced with genetic engineering," according to the Burlington Free Press.

Other states have laws on the books that will only be triggered once their neighbors follow suit. But all of these efforts may soon be superseded if Congress moves forward with a compromise bill that has just left the Senate Agricultural Committee.

The bill is the work of Senators Pat Roberts, R-Kan. and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., reports the Associated Press. If it becomes law, it will trump any state labeling efforts. Though the proposal does require the labeling of packaged foods containing GMOs, it is generally considered to be less strict than Vermont's effort. Companies would be given the option to use an on-package symbol, or a digital code that can be scanned with a smartphone. The bill also exempts meat, poultry or egg products from labeling requirements.

Anytime a the government enacts a new labeling regulation, companies face increased costs. It's important for them to create the labels they need without facing an undue burden.

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