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FMI Backs Senate Action on Bipartisan GMO Agreement

Leaders from the Food Marketing Institute and the International Dairy Foods Association have expressed support of the U.S. Senate’s vote on the procedural action to substitute the text of S.764 with the language of the bipartisan agreement between Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich,) on biotechnology labeling and then filing cloture, setting up two votes next week.

The bill, if passed, would prevent a state-by-state patchwork of labeling mandates, including one such law that is scheduled to take effect in Vermont July 1. 

“FMI commends the Senate’s practical action – before the July 1 implementation deadline of Vermont’s GMO labeling law – to file cloture on the bipartisan Roberts-Stabenow agreement, which enables the federal legislation on genetically modified food labeling to be considered next week when the Senate returns from the July 4th holiday recess,” noted Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based trade organization. “We applaud those 68 Senators voting in favor of moving this time-sensitive matter a step closer to final passage.

Added Sarasin: “The development of one national GMO labeling standard will avoid the consumer confusion that would erupt if shoppers were forced to sort through a patchwork of differing state laws, conflicting definitions and divergent labeling criteria.  The Roberts-Stabenow agreement will enable the food industry to proceed in an efficient, economical and orderly fashion to provide consumers with the easily accessible information they want. We and our partners in the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food praise this important action, are encouraged by this solid bipartisan vote and strongly urge the Senate’s expeditious passage of the bill next week.”

The agreement between the senators was reached last week, earning broad grocery industry approval.

"This issue is so important to dairy foods companies,” said J. David Carlin, SVP of legislative affairs and economic policy at IFDA, many of whose member visited Capitol Hill in June “to discuss the negative impact that state-by-state labeling would have on their customers, consumers and operations. We're pleased that agreement has been reached and we'll continue to push for passage of this important legislation.”

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