With 13 months left to write final rules on the disclosure of GMO ingredients in food, the USDA posted 30 questions on its website about possible contents of the rule. It is allowing 19 days, until July 17, for public comment.
In the past year, major food companies have trumpeted the changes they are making in how they produce food, rolling out long-term plans to remove antibiotics from livestock production, reformulating favorites like mac and cheese to get rid of artificial ingredients, and in some cases, aiming to improve the lives of animals destined to be eaten. Yet one major campaign has stood out in its inability to achieve what activists hoped — GMO labeling.
With the Senate at an impasse over GMO-food labeling, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraged senators to "figure out a way to reach common ground."
A third major food company, Mars Inc., says it will put GMO labels on its products nationwide and pointed to Vermont's first-in-the-nation labeling law as the impetus.
Chairman Pat Roberts says the Senate Agriculture Committee "will prove to the American people their food is safe" before it considers legislation to over-ride state GMO food-labeling laws, said the Topeka (Kan) Capital-Journal. A committee hearing on agricultural biotechnology is scheduled for Oct 21.
Both Monsanto, the giant seed company, or Stonyfield Farm, the organic yogurt company, "have aggressively recruited academic researchers" to carry their banner in the tussle over labeling foods made with genetically modified organisms, says the New York Times.
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, the food-industry group that promotes genetically modified foods, may be running uphill with its criticism of actress Gwyneth Paltrow on social media.
The GMO food-labeling campaign brought Hollywood star power to the Capitol as a counterweight to House passage of a bill to pre-empt state labeling laws.
The U.S. House could vote as early as next week on a bill to pre-empt states from requiring labels on food made with genetically modified organisms. And passage seems assured, backers said, after speedy committee approval of the legislation. The Agriculture Committee, a quarter of whose members are cosponsors of the bill, approved an updated version on a voice vote during a session that ran less than 20 minutes.
A bill to prevent states from requiring labels on foods made with genetically modified organisms could allow GMO foods to be marketed as "natural," opponents claimed ahead of a committee vote scheduled for today on the bill.
The House Agriculture Committee, a stronghold for conventional agriculture, will act first in Congress to prevent states from requiring labels on food made with genetically modified organisms.
Opponents will get one clear chance during House debate to torpedo a Republican-backed bill that would pre-empt state laws that require special labels on food made with genetically modified organisms, the Rules Committee decided on a party-line vote.
Leaders of the Republican-controlled House tentatively set Thursday for debate of HR 1599, which would prevent states from requiring labels on food made with genetically modified organisms and keep labeling voluntary on the federal level. A vote, with passage all but guaranteed, could be held …
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce gave his support to legislation that would bar states from requiring labels on food made with genetically modified organisms and keep labeling voluntary on the federal level. In a statement, chairman Fred Upton thanked the Agriculture Committee "for working with us to get this bill through the House." The preemption bill is being handled by Upton's committee. Support by a chairman smooths the way for legislation.
The Just Label It campaign for mandatory labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms "rolled out a trio of academics on Wednesday in a bid to raise public awareness of the public health and environmental costs of herbicides used in the production of genetically engineered crops," said Agri-Pulse.
After three years of state-level referendums that cost $100 million, the fight over labeling GMO foods will come to Congress in 2015, say two organization leaders, Laura Batcha of the Organic Trade Association and Scott Faber of the Just Label It campaign. "The fight is shifting to D.C.," Faber told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by OTA. Batcha said "we really see 2015 as the year the fight moves to Washington."
The Oregon referendum on labeling food made with genetically modified organisms, while a defeat, was the closest vote yet on the idea, which has gone to a vote in different states for three years in a row. Proponents and opponents say the expensive and splashy elections will lead to a national debate.
Reps Mike Pompeo of Kansas and GK Butterfield of North Carolina will unveil a bill today to set a federal standard for labeling genetically engineered foods and block states from adopting labeling laws of their own.