GMO Food Label Bill Passes Congress

Pro-labeling groups are calling it a sham
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2016 3:23 AM CDT
GMO Food Label Bill Passes Congress
A sign hangs at a rally on July 1, 2016, in Montpelier, Vt., protesting a proposal by Congress that would allow companies to use computer labels to indicate whether a product has been made with the help of genetic engineering.   (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

A bill requiring food packages to carry information on genetically modified ingredients has passed Congress—and NPR reports that neither side of the debate is thrilled about it. Farm groups and food industry lobbyists are opposed to any kind of mandatory labeling, while those calling for GMO labels complain that the bill allows food companies to provide a QR code or even just a phone number consumers can call instead of stating on the packaging whether the product contains GMO ingredients. The bill, which President Obama is expected to sign into law, was approved by the Senate last week and sailed through the House 306-117 on Thursday, the AP reports.

The compromise bill on GMO labeling was blasted as a "sham" by some pro-labeling groups and supported by food companies that wanted a national standard—preferably a loose one—instead of state-by-state regulations, BuzzFeed reports. Vermont brought in its own, more stringent law on GMO labeling at the start of this month, and state lawmakers, including Bernie Sanders, argued against the federal bill. "It's a shame that Congress chose to replace our standard with a weaker one that provides multiple ways for the food industry to avoid transparent labeling," Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a statement. (Last year, the FDA approved a genetically engineered animal for human consumption.)

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