ASA Supports Roberts Bill to Set GMO Labeling StandardFri, 19 Feb 2016 16:56:07 CST
The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed legislation introduced Friday by Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts that would establish a national framework for the labeling of foods containing bioengineering. The legislation comes as a result of extensive work between ASA and fellow members of the Coalition for Safe, Affordable Food and Senate leadership, and reflects the urgent need to find a path forward on the GMO issue before a controversial law requiring labeling takes effect in Vermont in July.
“We’ve heard repeatedly that Americans want more information on what’s in their food, and we are invested in providing that information to them. Chairman Roberts’ bill is one that moves the food production industry in a direction of greater transparency, while at the same time protecting farmers’ ability to use what science has repeatedly proven to be a safe and sustainable technology,” said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, Del.
The bill instructs USDA to establish a set of standards within two years for labeling foods that do contain or may contain bioengineering. The bill also directs USDA to conduct an outreach and education campaign on the safety of bioengineered food. Additionally, the bill would preempt a patchwork of conflicting labeling laws at the state level.
“As growers, our primary concern is the ability to continue to produce food in the quantity and of the quality that American consumers demand, and we are acutely aware of consumers’ desire for us to reduce our impact on the environment in the process,” added Wilkins. “This is the dual promise of bioengineering. It has been proven safe repeatedly for nearly 20 years, and we can’t stand by while a small subset of activists willfully misinterprets and misrepresents bioengineering to advance their agenda.”
“We commend Chairman Roberts for his work,” added Wilkins, “and we will work with offices on both sides of the aisle to underscore just how important a national solution is in advance of the Vermont law.”
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