GMO Labeling in the Senate

Yesterday morning, the Senate Committee on Agriculture held what Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) called its first hearing on biotechnology in over a decade. “Agriculture Biotechnology: A Look at Federal Regulation and Stakeholder Perspectives” featured administrators from the Departments of Agriculture (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), FDA (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) and EPA (Office of Pesticide Programs), as well as representatives from the food industry, health sector, and advocacy groups that support the GMO labeling campaign.

Senators from both parties made a point of showcasing the scientific consensus on GMO safety (repeatedly affirmed by the regulators) and highlighted the benefits of GMO crops that yield more food with less reliance on chemical pesticides. They also expressed a bipartisan preference (in broad terms)  for the current FDA-centric framework for GMO development over any state-level “patchwork” of conflicting label requirements that might emerge, and urged regulatory agencies to improve public outreach to counter misconceptions.  Looking ahead , Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) was optimistic that a Senate version of the House’s Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (HR 1599) could be finished by the end of the year.

Video of the full hearing and witness statements can be found on the Senate Age website:

http://www.ag.senate.gov/hearings/agriculture-biotechnology-a-look-at-federal-regulation-and-stakeholder-perspectives 

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