Washington, D.C. (July 14, 2015)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives today lauded the House Agriculture Committee’s approval of H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, during a business meeting of the Committee today. The bill, which would establish a national, science-based standard for the safety and labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), was passed by a voice vote.
“The House Agriculture Committee has taken an important step in moving forward legislation to ensure that farmer co-ops, their producer-owners and other agribusinesses have the certainty of a uniform, national standard when it comes to labeling foods made with biotech-derived ingredients,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner. “H.R. 1599 would eliminate the possibility of a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, something that would increase costs and reduce choices for both farmers and consumers.”
During the markup, the Committee approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute further strengthening several key provisions of the legislation, which was introduced earlier this year by Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). Among the changes are provisions to
- Enhance coordination between the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the biotechnology approval process;
- Strengthen confidence in the safety of genetically engineered foods by requiring developers to receive written FDA notification that any questions on food safety have been resolved before introduction of new bio-engineered products into the marketplace; and
- Provide consumers greater transparency and confidence by establishing a public web site listing all bioengineered plants.
“The changes made in markup truly help to strengthen the bill and helps further build broad-based, bipartisan support for the measure,” Conner continued. “ I urge House leadership to carry this momentum forward and take up H.R. 1599 ahead of the August recess.”