On July 14, 2015, H.R. 1599, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”, will be reviewed by the House Committee on Agriculture. The review will mark the first action taken by a committee on the bill, and may signal the beginning of consideration in the full House of Representatives.
The bill seeks to create a voluntary federal certification for a product to be labeled as “non-GMO.” The bill would also preempt any individual state GMO labeling laws, an area of increasing focus as Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law’s 2016 deadline approaches.
The bill was first introduced by Representative Mike Pompeo, and currently has 68 sponsors, including 14 Democrats. Members of the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association will be lobbying to gather additional sponsors and support for the bill. The proponents of the bill wish to avoid a “hodgepodge of rules [that] would be unworkable for farmers” that could arise if a federal system isn't in place.
One opponent of the bill has stated that “[n]o one will be surprised if the House preempts state GMO labeling bills. The real battle has always been over the Senate.” There is a companion bill currently in the works by Senator John Hoeven, but there has yet to be a Democratic co-sponsor.
Written by Tyler R. Etter- Research Assistant
July 13, 2015