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Associations, consumer groups weigh in on GMO bill

Snack Food Association president and CEO Tom Dempsey urged Congress Wednesday to approve the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would prevent individual states from mandating GMO labeling.

Representing food manufacturers before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Dempsey said, “Absent a federal GMO solution, manufacturers will have essentially three options in order to comply with state labeling laws (order new packaging, reformulate so no label is required or halt sales to that state). Each option is difficult, costly, time-intensive and, at worst, could eliminate jobs and consumer choice in the marketplace.”

SFA is a member of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, of which the Grocery Manufacturers Association, American Beverage Association and other food groups are part.


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Also attending were opponents of the measure, which was introduced in April by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C. They include members of the Organic Consumers Association, Cornucopia Institute, Dr. Bronner’s, Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, and others who contend that the bill, which would give sole authority to the FDA to stipulate labeling requirements for foods containing GMOS, was written with help from the biotech and processed food industries to protect profits.

“Every citizen in this country, regardless of political affiliation, should be extremely concerned when Congress allows corporations to write laws, and those laws tromp on the rights of consumers and the constitutional rights of state and local governments to pass their own laws to protect their citizens and communities,” said Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association, in a press release.

Meanwhile, GMA commended the subcommittee for holding the hearing. "The proceedings further illustrated the need to ensure that scientific experts, not political campaigns, are responsible for developing our nation's food labeling policies," said Pam Bailey, GMA president and CEO, in a press release. "The bill reaffirms the Food and Drug Administration as America's preeminent authority on food safety and labeling requirements; requires the FDA to approve all new GMO ingredients before they are brought to market; and establishes federal standards for companies that wish to voluntarily label their products for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients."

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