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Proposed Food Labelling Law Changes Under Fire

14 April 2014

US - US farmers have hit out at a new law that would remove the need to label foods that contain genetically modifies ingredients unless they are unsafe or materially different from foods produced without GM ingredients.

Reps. Mike Pompeo (pictured) and G. K. Butterfield introduced the bill last week creating federal standards for food labelling in order to keep American-produced food safe, nutritious, and affordable.

The bipartisan federal solution, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labelling Act of 2014” (HR 4432) is designed to protect consumers by eliminating confusion and advancing food safety, the congressmen said.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labelling Act of 2014 will establish a federal labelling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients, giving sole authority to the Food and Drug Administration to require mandatory labelling on such foods if they are ever found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without GM ingredients.

“From the Kansas farmer’s harvest to a Kansas family’s table, our food supply is crucial to our economy, to our health, and to our way of life,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo.

“The Sunflower State has relied on technological advances in order to feed the world, and this bill would ensure our continued success in providing safe, affordable, and nutritious food.”

“This bill has resounding support from the North Carolina Farm Bureau and the agriculture community at-large,” said Rep. G. K. Butterfield.

“It prevents a mishmash of labelling standards and allows farmers to continue to produce higher yields of healthy crops in smaller spaces with less water and fewer pesticides. If passed, this will be a big win for farmers nationwide.”

However, the National Farmers Union President Roger Johnston has attacked the bill.

Mr Johnson said: "Farmers Union members have clearly stated their position in the policy adopted at our annual meeting in favour of required consumer labelling for foods made from or containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“The rights of both GMO and non-GMO producers should be respected as appropriate regulatory agencies continue to research and evaluate ethical, environmental, food safety, legal, market and structural issues that impact everyone in the food chain.

"NFU policy supports conspicuous, mandatory labelling for food products throughout the processing chain to include all ingredients, additives and processes, such as genetically altered or engineered food products.
"Further, in numerous places NFU’s member-driven policy supports the authority of lower levels of government and opposes pre-emption by federal standards. This legislation would pre-empt state actions to label foods containing GMOs.

"Surveys have consistently shown that consumers want more information about their food, not less. The prevalence of state-led efforts to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) only corroborates these findings. As the nation’s food producers, Farmers Union members fully understand the need to meet the market’s demands."

The two congressmen, however, said the legislation takes an approach that is far better than a 50-state patchwork of GMO labelling laws that could mislead consumers, raise the price of groceries for American families and yet do nothing to advance food safety.

GMOs are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet, they said.

GMO crops use less water and fewer pesticides and reduce the price of crops by 15-30 percent. They also help us feed a global population of 7 billion that will grow to 9 billion by 2050, especially providing assistance to those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Contrary to claims by activists, there is no scientific evidence that suggests foods that contain GMOs are anything but safe.


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