Senate Hearing on GMO Labeling
Last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on the role of biotechnology in agriculture and the appropriate policies for labeling food developed using biotechnology. Agriculture Committee Chmn. Pat Roberts (R-KS) highlighted the strong scientific consensus on the safety of biotechnology. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the panel’s top Democrat, said that she supports biotechnology and the rights of consumers to know what’s in their food. Sen. Stabenow indicated that different state laws on GMO labeling was not the appropriate approach to food labeling and that a federal solution needed to be adopted by the end of the year but that she would not support the approach taken by the Pompeo bill approved by the House. According to Stabenow she will support legislation that would prevent states from creating a patchwork of labeling laws, put in place “a national system of disclosure and transparency” for consumers, and would not stigmatize biotechnology. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), a member of the Agriculture Committee plans to introduce legislation to establish federal preemption for labeling food products developed using biotechnology. NPC and other members of the coalition supporting voluntary federal labeling are working with members to garner the 60 votes needed for approval in the Senate this year.