Obama Signs GMO Labeling Bill
President Barack Obama has signed into law a landmark agreement that protects America’s food supply system from a harmful patchwork of varying state labeling laws for foods made with genetically modified, or GMO, ingredients. The historic federal law will give consumers access to more product information than ever before and ensure a transparent national system for disclosing ingredients without stigmatizing a safe and proven technology.
“We are grateful to President Obama for swiftly signing into law a bill that is vital for consumers and food manufacturers,” said Clay Hough, International Dairy Foods Association senior group vice president and legal counsel. “The new federal law explicitly preempts state GMO labeling laws, including Vermont’s, and will bring much-needed consistency to the marketplace.”
Some advocates on both sides of the issue were surprised at how things turned out, but said a resolution was desperately needed for what had become a divisive issue.
“I don’t think things ever play out in Washington the way people expect,” said Karen Batra, director of communications for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
“From a political perspective we owe a debt of gratitude to our members of Congress. The bill represents what we think is a good middle ground for both sides. It was a big lift to get this done among all the other discussions taking place.”
She calls the final agreement a “workable solution” that gives consumers information without stigmatizing the technology and protects against what threatened to become a patchwork of state laws. The agreement allows food companies to provide content information through the use of on-package symbols, on-package wording or electronic labels, such as quick response codes, that direct consumers to information online.