Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member, reached an agreement on genetically modified organism labeling days before the Vermont law goes into effect.
The compromise requires mandatory “disclosure” but gives companies various options on informing the public including text on packages, a symbol or an electronic link to a website. Small food manufacturers can use websites or telephone numbers to meet the requirement. Very small food manufacturers and restaurants are exempt. Meat and dairy products (steaks, loins, pork chops, etc.) from animals fed GMO feed are exempt. Foods where meat, poultry and egg products are the main ingredient are exempted.
However, multi-ingredient meat and poultry products may have to bear a GMO label depending on the product’s formulation and whether any other ingredient has been genetically engineered.
All human food subject to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act labeling requirements will be required to comply.
The Senate is expected to consider the bill next week. It will take 60 votes to pass. The House of Representatives is in recess until July 5 and will not be able to consider the bill until then. Congress leaves for the conventions and summer recess on July 15, so there are few legislative days left to get this done.