Senate rejects Roberts’ amended GM labeling bill.

  • Eyes were on the Senate yesterday as the food industry and consumers anticipated a Senate vote on an amended bill to establish a federal standard for the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods.  The amended bill took a “hybrid” approach compared to previous measures, proposing a voluntary labeling standard with the potential to become mandatory if there was insufficient industry participation in the voluntary disclosure program.  Many thought the amended bill represented the best chance of federal action in time to preempt the upcoming Vermont GM labeling requirements, which take effect on July 1.
  • To the disappointment of many food industry stakeholders, the amended Roberts bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate.  The final vote was 48-49.
  • The potential still exists for this bill to come back up for a vote in the future if an agreement can be reached among the divided camps.  Now that this compromise has failed to bridge the divide, it is even less clear whether or when Congress will be able to come up with a solution to this contentious issue.