(Washington, DC) The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today issued the following statement from Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, on passage by the House of Representatives of bipartisan national legislation on disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients. The bill, which was approved by the House 306-117, now goes to President Obama for signing, as it was approved 63-30 by the Senate last Thursday.
“It is remarkable to see broad and bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate come together to pass this GMO disclosure legislation. Republicans and Democrats found consensus on the common ground that a patchwork of different state labeling laws would be a costly and confusing disaster for the nation’s food supply chain. They also joined together to give consumers more access to consistent and helpful information about genetic engineering.
“We could not have achieved success on this issue without the strong leadership from House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Ranking Democrat Collin Peterson (D-MN); the House champions of this issue, Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield, D-NC); and Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Passage of this legislation is a testament to their leadership, to the importance of this issue to every American, and to the coalition of farmers, producers, manufacturers and retailers who came together on this issue.
“This is a win-win for every American family in every state. The legislation ensures that consumers get more information about genetically engineered ingredients, prevents a patchwork of confusing and costly state labeling mandates, and provides the same labeling rules to shoppers regardless of where they live or shop. It is the right solution to increase disclosure of information that consumers are seeking without stigmatizing a safe technology that feeds a hungry and growing world.
“Now that Congress has passed this reasonable and much-needed solution, we urge President Obama to sign this bill quickly. Vermont’s mandatory on-package GMO labeling law took effect on July 1 and threatens the nation’s food supply chain with costly and lasting disruptions. Already, consumers in Vermont are finding fewer products on the shelves and small businesses are facing higher costs of compliance.
“Food and beverage companies agree on the importance of making available to consumers the information they want about their products. Our innovative SmartLabel™ technology initiative puts detailed information about thousands of products right at the fingertips of consumers. It will enable consumers to get all the information they want to know about what they are purchasing – and when they want to know it. SmartLabel™ doesn’t replace the package label; it leverages digital technology and provides more information than could ever fit on a package. More than 1,150 products already are using SmartLabel™ and are listed on the SmartLabel.org website. We project that more than 34,000 products will be using SmartLabel™ by the end of 2017.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is the trade organization representing the world’s leadingfood, beverage and consumer products companies and associated partners. The U.S. food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry has facilities in 30,000 communities, generates $1 trillion in sales annually, contributes $415 billion in added value to the economy every year and is the single largest U.S. manufacturing industry with 1.7 million manufacturing workers. Founded in 1908, GMA has a primary focus on product safety, science-based public policies and industry initiatives that seek to empower people with the tools and information they need to make informed choices and lead healthier lives. For more information, visit gmaonline.org.