Hoeven: Senate Passes Ag Biotech Labeling Bill

Senator Worked to Find Bipartisan Agreement to Prevent Costly Patchwork of State Regulations

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, today announced that the U.S. Senate has approved compromise legislation to address the agriculture biotechnology labeling issue. Hoeven worked with Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to forge the bipartisan agreement and prevent a patchwork of costly state labeling requirements. Hoeven said the legislation, which will now go to the House of Representatives, ensures shoppers have access to information about their food and prevents increased costs for farmers, ranchers and consumers.

“The Senate passed this legislation with strong bipartisan support because it strikes the right balance and benefits both consumers and producers. It’s good for consumers because it ensures access to information about their food, while preventing added costs at the grocery store. It’s good for our farmers and ranchers because it prevents a patchwork of labeling requirements that will raise their production costs.” said Hoeven. “We hope the House moves quickly to pass this compromise bill.”

The bipartisan legislation:

• 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.