(Washington, D.C.) – The Grocery Manufacturers Association issued the following statement from Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, on the failure of Congress to reach agreement this year on legislation that prevents a costly and confusing 50-state patchwork of mandatory GMO labeling laws:
“It is unfortunate that Congress has failed to take action this year to stop a patchwork of costly and misleading state labeling mandates, an issue of tremendous importance to consumers, farmers, food and beverage companies. In January, food manufacturers will face exponentially increasing costs totaling hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with Vermont’s GMO labeling mandate.
“There is bipartisan agreement that genetic engineering should not be stigmatized – it is the technology that feeds a hungry and growing world. There is bipartisan agreement that consumers should have access to consistent and helpful information about genetic engineering. There is bipartisan agreement that a 50-state patchwork of laws is disastrous for farmers, food companies and consumers. Given there is so much common ground, we welcome Secretary Vilsack’s willingness to bring parties together in January to forge a compromise that Congress could pass as soon as possible. We are hopeful that compromise will establish a uniform national standard for foods made with genetically engineered crops.
“Earlier this month, our companies announced a national transparency initiative that will make it easier for consumers to get the information they want, when they want it. SmartLabel™ provides consumers with a cornucopia of information at their fingertips about the ingredients in food, beverage and other consumer products. We are working to ensure that vast majority of products that consumers purchase will have SmartLabel™ in the next several years. By the end of 2017, we estimate that 20,000 food products will disclose through SmartLabel™ whether they contain ingredients sourced from genetically engineered crops – and that number could triple once a Congress passes a uniform national standard for GMOs.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.
Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders.
In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.