Industry Groups Seeking National, Voluntary GMO Labeling Standard
(NAFB)--Some in the food industry that have been fighting state efforts to mandate labels for genetically modified organisms are now pushing for a federal GMO law. The Grocery Manufacturers Association wants an industry-friendly law with a voluntary federal standard. Those supporting the idea say they are trying to find a national solution for labeling - rather than having to navigate various state laws for every packaged food item on the grocery shelf. POLITICO obtained an early discussion draft of the GMA’s proposed bill. It says labeling standards would not be mandatory and the industry would submit to more Food and Drug Administration oversight. GMA Head of Government Affairs Louis Finkel says they believe it’s important for Congress to engage and provide FDA with the ability to have a national standard on GMO food labeling. Finkel adds that a 50-state patchwork of regulations is irresponsible. Finkel says GMA has fought mandatory labeling at the state level because the group believes a mandatory label misinforms consumers by implying there’s something wrong with the product. Scott Faber with the Environmental Working Group says a better course would be for industry to come to the table and work with consumers to gain the disclosure of more information on products. Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio and California Senator Barbara Boxer both introduced bills in Congress that seek the mandatory labeling of GMO foods nationwide. DeFazio has said he has considerable concerns with GMA’s discussion draft and warned the food industry could hurt its consumer image and bottom line if it moves ahead with the measure. But GMA isn’t alone in the promotion of this idea. The coalition behind the effort includes - among others - the Snack Food Association, the American Frozen Food Institute and the American Bakers Association.