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GMO Bill Clears Senate Hurdle; Meat Institute Urges Swift Passage of Legislation

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

(North American Meat Institute)

The Senate last week voted 68-29 on a procedural measure that lays the groundwork for a final vote on the genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling bill (S. 764) that, if enacted, would preempt state GMO labeling laws and establish a mandatory GMO labeling program within USDA. The bill would require some meat and poultry products to disclose GMO information if one or more ingredients has been genetically engineered and would require food companies to provide that information either through on-package labeling, on-package electronic labeling or a symbol that would be developed by USDA to disclose genetically engineered ingredients.

The Meat Institute, earlier in the week, sent a letter to U.S. Senators expressing the meat and poultry industry’s support for the bill and urged them to move quickly to pass the bipartisan proposal. The Institute called on the Senate to approve the measure to avoid “economic chaos” across the food industry that would result if a patchwork of state GMO labeling laws are enacted, and cautioned that such state mandates would disrupt the food supply, cost jobs and hurt consumers.

The full Senate could vote on the bill as early as this week.

In the meantime, the Vermont GMO labeling law took effect as of Friday, July 1. The law exempts meat and poultry products. State leaders have indicated they will not begin actively enforcing the law for six months.

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