Hoeven: GMO Labeling Bill Advances in Senate

Senator Working to Pass Legislation to Prevent Patchwork of State Labeling Requirements

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, today announced that the Senate has advanced compromise legislation to address the GMO labeling issue, setting the legislation up for a vote on final passage later this week. The Senate voted 65-32 to invoke cloture on the bill today.

Hoeven has been working with Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to find a bipartisan agreement that averts a costly patchwork of different state labeling requirements for genetically engineered food products and ensures that consumers have access to information about their food.

“We’ve worked very hard on this compromise legislation, and I think it strikes the right balance between providing information that people want about their food and not raising costs for farmers, ranchers and consumers,” said Hoeven. “The Senate voted today to advance the bill and will hopefully hold a final vote on it later this week. We need to pass this bill and ensure that we don’t have a patchwork of state labeling requirements.”

The bipartisan agreement:

• Prevents a patchwork of programs that vary from state-to-state, which would add expense for consumers and producers alike.
• Establishes a uniform national disclosure standard for human food that is or may be bioengineered. The standard will be established through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rulemaking process.
• Requires mandatory disclosure with several options, including text on package, a symbol or a link to a website. Small food manufacturers will be allowed to use websites and telephone numbers to meet disclosure requirements, and very small manufacturers and restaurants are exempt.
• Exempts foods where meat, poultry and egg products are the main ingredient. The legislation prohibits the Secretary of Agriculture from considering any food product derived from an animal to be bioengineered solely because the animal may have eaten bioengineered feed.