Senate expected to vote as early as today on amended GM labeling law.

  • As our readership knows, all eyes are on Congress this week as it prepares to act on proposed legislation to block state laws that would impose labeling requirements for genetically modified (GM) foods.
  • Following up on yesterday’s GM update, the Senate is poised to take action on an amendment to Senator Roberts’ (R-Kansas) previously-introduced voluntary GM labeling bill.  The original bill would have established a voluntary GM labeling standard to be administered by USDA.  The amended bill still would create a USDA-administered standard, but would require rulemaking to consider the extent to which consumers can get information about GM content via sources other than product labels, e.g., via call centers, websites, social media, scannable codes, and other means.  Also, although the amended bill preserves the voluntary nature of the GM labeling standard at the outset, it would give USDA authority to establish a “national mandatory bioengineered food labeling standard” in the event that there is “not at least 70 percent substantial participation” in the voluntary standard 2 years after the promulgation of implementing regulations.
  • Describing the amended bill as a “true compromise,” Senator Roberts indicated that numerous industry groups and companies have shown support for the legislation.  Although some opponents continue to voice concerns that the bill does not go far enough to far enough to require GM disclosures, perhaps the “substantial participation” hook in the amended bill will be enough to persuade voters to give this measure a chance.