Posted January 9, 2014
 
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents companies like ConAgra, PepsiCo, and Kraft, is proposing a federal GMO food labeling law, according to a Politico article available here.
 
The GMA’s proposal advocates for an industry-friendly law with a voluntary federal standard.  A discussion draft of GMA’s proposed bill is available here.  The proposed bill would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “conduct a safety review of all new plant varieties used for genetically engineered food before those foods are introduced into commerce.”  In addition, the proposed bill would “create a new legal framework” governing “the use of label claims regarding either the absence of, or use of, genetically engineered food or food ingredients.”  The proposed bill would also preempt state law.
 
The GMA’s proposed bill comes as GMO labeling has become a central issue of national debate.  Washington State narrowly defeated a referendum to require GMO labeling, while Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling mandates last year.  Several states, including Colorado and Oregon, are preparing to consider labeling initiatives in 2014. 
 
GMA stated that its goal is for a national standard.  “We believe that it’s important for Congress to engage and provide FDA with the ability to have a national standard” on GMO food labeling, said Louis Finkel, head of government affairs for GMA.  “A 50-state patchwork of regulations is irresponsible.”
 
Those in favor of strict labeling requirements were not impressed by GMA’s proposed bill, according to an article by Food Navigator available here.  Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety, said “The GMA will do anything in its power to keep the public from knowing what is in the food they are buying.  We and our allies in the food movement will work to make sure that the public’s right to know is protected and that this bill if introduced, is dead on arrival.”

 

For more information on food labeling, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.