- HR1599, also known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, has passed the House, 275 to 150.
- This comes as the pressure for food companies to reveal what's in their food has risen to a boiling point among consumers and advocacy groups.
- While supporters of the bill — including companies — say mandatory labels would be misleading, and that "a patchwork of laws around the country would be expensive for companies and confusing for consumers," those who want labeling stick to the argument that "people have a right to know what is in their food" and this bill "would take away states' discretion to require the labels," reports the Associated Press.
"Precisely zero pieces of credible evidence have been presented that foods produced with biotechnology pose any risk to our health and safety," according to the bill's author, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS).
Opponents of the bill have dubbed it the "Denying Americans the Right to Know" Act (DARK). "The FDA already requires clear labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and food processes. GMOs should be no different," Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) told reporters Wednesday.
The bill's passing would mean Vermont's law mandating food labels on GMO products (that is set to take effect next July) would no longer stand, and also stop other states from taking similar action. Maine and Connecticut have OK'd laws that would only take hold if states around it did the same.
It also would bring about a voluntary USDA certification process for GMO-free labeled foods and increased FDA surveillance (including how "natural" is used on labels).
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) is said to be putting together legislation in the Senate, according to the Associated Press, while there is currently no comparable bill.