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Uniform National Food Labeling Standard Good for Farmers, Businesses and Consumers

July 21, 2015

By: Pam Bailey, President and CEO

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday legislation with bipartisan support that is important to farmers, consumers and the nation’s food manufacturers.

This legislation, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, would establish a uniform, national, voluntary food labeling standard for products containing ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

As I wrote in an op-ed earlier this week in The Hill, this uniform standard for labeling foods with these ingredients is necessary to avoid a patchwork of different state labeling mandates that would be costly for farmers, businesses and consumers.  Estimates show that grocery bills for shoppers could go up by as much as $500 a year for a family of four, according to a study by Cornell University Professor William Lesser.

What’s just as bad is that while the groups pushing these state mandates claim it is to further the right to know of consumers, the fact is that these state initiatives are filled with loopholes that only confuse people even more.

GMOs have been an important part of our nation’s food supply for the past 20 years, and 70-80 percent of the foods people eat in the United States contain ingredients that have been genetically engineered. In addition, the leading health and regulatory bodies in the world, from the World Health Organization to the American Medical Association to our own FDA, have all concluded GMOs are safe.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act also would improve clarity for foods carrying a GMO-free label and provide uniform rules by creating a national certification program for foods that have been produced without bioengineering.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association is proud to stand with nearly 500 agriculture and food groups urging the House to pass this important legislation this week and the Senate to take it up and approve it in the fall.

 

 

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