The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance applauds Congress for resoundingly passing bi-partisan legislation to federally preempt a possible piecemeal assortment of state laws addressing labeling of human food and animal feed created with biotechnology-enhanced ingredients.
The Alliance was part of a broad coalition of agricultural producers and trade organizations that supported the legislation drafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-KS., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-MI. The legislation, if signed by the President, would preempt Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law in favor of a uniform national standard that would provide an efficient mechanism for consumers who wish to know more about food products, including the biotech content of food. Through the Robert’s Stabenow Bill, easy access to this information will be disclosed on products without forcing other consumers to incur exponential increases in food costs related to labeling compliance costs.
A national program for labeling of biotech food is needed to maintain efficiencies in supply chains starting at disruptions and inefficiencies in production and moving through storage, transportation, manufacturing and distribution of food and feed. Disruption of existing systems could translate into significant cost increases for consumers. The Alliance has been part of the effort to develop a reasonable national approach to food labeling for over a year and supported the U.S House approach to food labeling that was developed in 2015. Now that Vermont’s food labeling law has come into effect the Senate bill is preferable to further delay, or the uncertainty created by the Vermont approach to food labeling.
The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance is a 300-member organization representing feed, seed and fertilizer companies and other agricultural input providers in New York and New England.