On July 17, 2015, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) issued a statement on proposed house bill H.R. 1599, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. According to the statement, H.R. 1599 only addresses the issue of GMO food labeling and does not go into other issues such as cultivation of GMO crops. The statement indicated the goal of the proposed bill is to avoid a patchwork of state laws governing GMO food labeling.
The statement was issued after a number of organizations expressed concern that the proposed bill would preempt state and county laws that have restricted or banned the planting of GMO crops. According to a press release on the Center for Food Safety website, the organization believes H.R. 1599 “would not only prohibit all labeling of GE foods, but also to make it unlawful for states or local governments to restrict GE crops in any way.”
The Environmental Working Group issued a news release with a similar interpretation, stating “The bill, H.R. 1599, would . . . stop state and local governments from regulating any process related to production of GMO crops.” Other organizations, such as Just Label It campaign, have issued similar statements.
Written by Katharine Richter - Research Assistant
July 20, 2015