Discussions continue over GMO Labeling

GMOThe Senate Agriculture Committee last week passed a bill out of Committee that would preempt state and local governments from passing GMO labeling laws, and would set up a voluntary GMO labeling regime at USDA. It also includes a definition of biotechnology that is inconsistent with the definitions included in the organic regulations. Indications are that Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) continue to work toward a compromise approach that could be considered by the entire Senate later this spring. Among the considerations in that compromise are whether the labeling regime is voluntary or mandatory, what the label would look like, and whether the legislation is consistent with the existing organic regulations. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also weighed into the debate, telling attendees at the Commodity Classic that federal GMO labeling must be mandatory. Meanwhile, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has introduced a separate GMO labeling bill that would house a mandatory GMO labeling regime in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. OTA’s Government Affairs team remains actively engaged with the policymakers, and will continue to keep you posted. Contact Marni Karlin (OTA’s Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel) with any questions or concerns—and keep an eye on your inboxes for updates.

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