One week before the Vermont GMO labeling law will take effect, a bipartisan bill requiring mandatory labeling for products containing genetically modified ingredients has been agreed to by Senate AG committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS). The bill, which would require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods, will need to be passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and would go into effect two years after passed. If successful, the new law would specifically preempt all state GMO labeling laws and would prevent the feared patchwork of conflicting state labeling laws.
The bill has a narrow definition of genetic engineering — traits developed through in vitro recombinant DNA techniques, which could not be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature. It excludes food served in a restaurant and food derived from animals that consumed genetically modified feed. The Secretary would be responsible for establishing a specific regulation setting forth the amount of a genetically modified substance that would require labeling.
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