The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) applauded the introduction of legislation that will create a national, science-based labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and urged Congress to quickly pass the bill.
The legislation, which will ensure that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) remains the authority on food safety and labeling standards in the U.S., was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), and Rep. G.K Butterfield (D-NC).
"Agricultural retailers are optimistic the broad support of this bipartisan proposal will lead to quick passage of the bill, and we applaud the leadership of reps. Pompeo and Butterfield," said Daren Coppock, ARA president and chief executive officer. "A patchwork of labeling laws would be untenable for farmers and food companies, and result in less clarity for consumers."
A hodgepodge of mandatory state labeling laws threatens to harm interstate commerce, drive up the price of food, and increase consumer confusion. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act will ensure labeling decisions are established by science-based, uniform standards that are consistent in every grocery store in all 50 states.
Nearly 2000 studies from the leading scientific bodies in the world, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association have declared GMOs safe. Bill and Melinda Gates and Bill Nye the Science Guy have recently touted the benefits of biotechnology, which helps feed a growing world by allowing farmers to produce higher yields on less land while using fewer pesticides.
"For nearly two decades, genetically modified seeds have been an important tool for farmers to increase yield while reducing the need for crop protection products," Coppock added. "Farmers adopt them quickly because they work. And time and again, biotechnology has been proven safe."
Due to the complexity of the American food chain, state-by-state labeling will severely cripple the supply chains of our nation's food producers. These costs - as much as $500 a year for a family of four according to a Cornell University study - will be passed on to consumers. Many family-run businesses will simply be unable to navigate these new hurdles.
"It is imperative that Congress pass this legislation this year to help consumers who are looking for more transparency in labeling, not laws riddled with carve outs and exemptions that vary from state to state," Coppock added. "The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act is the common sense solution to the labeling question."
More information about GMO labeling is available at www.coalitionforsafeaffordablefood.org and www.gmoanswers.com.
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) is a nonprofit trade association representing the interests of retailers across the U.S. on legislative and regulatory issues on Capitol Hill. As the political voice of agricultural retailers, ARA not only represents its membership but also educates members on the political process and important issues affecting the industry.
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