Calls for Vote by Full Senate Soon to Address Urgent Issue
(Washington, DC) The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) issued the following statement from Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, on the bipartisan passage today by the Senate Agriculture Committee of legislation to set a uniform national food labeling standard for genetically engineered ingredients. The Senate Agriculture Committee voted 14-6 to approve a bill by Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) that preempts state labeling mandates; requires the Secretary of Agriculture to set a national labeling standard, which makes it easier to voluntarily disclose information about genetic engineered ingredients in food; and creates a consumer education initiative on the safety of genetically engineered ingredients.
“This strong and bipartisan vote is a victory for working families, farmers, and food companies. This legislation ensures that consumers get consistent information about food and beverage ingredients, prevents a patchwork of confusing and costly state labeling mandates, and providesthe same labeling rules toshoppers across the country.
“We thank Senators Roberts for his leadership to find a common-sense solution that now goes to the full Senate with bipartisan momentum. It is critically important that the full Senate pass this legislation as quickly as possible and for the bill to be voted on by the House. Vermont’s mandatory labeling law goes into effect on July 1, and this law could increase food costs for families across the nation by an average of $1,050 a year.
“Food and beverage companies agree on the importance of making available to our customers information they desire about the products they buy to enable them to make informed choices. That’s why we created the innovative SmartLabel™ technology initiative to put detailed information about thousands of products right at the fingertips of consumers. SmartLabel™ doesn’t replace the package label; it complements that label by leveraging digital technology. 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.”
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.