COMPROMISE BILL EXEMPTS MEAT FROM GMO LABELING

     U.S. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas announced this week a compromise has been reached with Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan on a labeling law for genetically modified foods. Roberts urged his congressional colleagues to support the approach as an alternative to the restrictive Vermont law set to go into effect July 1.
     The proposal would prohibit states or other entities from mandating labels for food or seed that is genetically engineered. As part of the proposal, USDA is required to establish a uniform national disclosure standard for human food that is bioengineered. Language in the legislation makes disclosure mandatory, but gives options, including text on packaging, a symbol or a link to a website.
     Of particular interest to the livestock industry, foods containing meat, poultry and egg products as the main ingredient are exempt from labeling. Whole muscle cuts and ground product would be exempt as well. The bill would prohibit the U.S. secretary of agriculture from considering any food product derived from an animal as bioengineered because the animal may have eaten genetically modified feed.
     The U.S. Senate had not acted on the legislation as of early Friday (6/24). Nearly a year ago, the U.S. House passed separate legislation that would prevent states from issuing mandatory labeling laws for foods containing genetically modified organisms. The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas.

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