GMA proposal for federal GMO labeling reaps criticism
The Grocery Manufacturers Association is preparing a bill for voluntary federal labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients that would preempt state labeling, according to a discussion draft obtained by Politico, but critics have already denounced the bill.
“We believe that it’s important for Congress to engage and provide FDA with the ability to have a national standard” on GMO food labeling, Louis Finkel, head of government affairs for GMA, said, according to the Politico report. “A 50-state patchwork of regulations is irresponsible.”
GMA developed the proposal after the defeat of GMO labeling proposals in California and Washington state. Other states are also considering GMO labeling measures. Although food companies have backed and won the battles over GMO labeling, the campaigns are expensive and companies are tired of funding them, a food industry source told The Hagstrom Report.
Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook, who favored the California GMO labeling scheme, said, “Clearly, this is an industry that will stop at nothing to hide from its customers basic information on what’s in their food. If this proposal were to become law, it would make it impossible for any state to require labeling of GE foods, even if an overwhelming majority of its residents demand it.”
Scott Faber, an EWG official who is also executive director of Just Label It, said, “This ‘Hail Mary’ pass comes too late to deny consumers the right to know what’s in their food. Two states have already given consumers the same rights as consumers in 64 other countries around world, and 20 more states are poised to pass GE labeling legislation in 2014. Now is the time for food companies to work with JLI and others to craft a national mandatory labeling system, not make desperate moves to block states from protecting their consumers from misleading ‘natural’ claims or to tie FDA’s hands in red tape.”
–The Hagstrom Report