U.S. House Passes Bill to Prevent Mandatory GMO Labeling
WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies would not have to disclose whether their food products contain genetically modified ingredients under legislation passed by the House Thursday. The House bill passed 275-150. Republican Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, and his Democratic colleague, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, championed the bill. Their “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”would replace state and local labeling mandates with a voluntary nationwide labeling system overseen by U.S. Department of Agriculture and modeled on the federal organic certification program. The bill was backed by the food industry, which has fought mandatory labeling efforts in several states around the country. So far, Vermont is the only state set to require package labels for genetically modified foods. That law will take effect in July 2016 if it survives a legal challenge. The country's largest food companies say genetically modified foods are safe and that labels would be misleading. Advocates for the labels say people have a right to know what is in their food and criticize the legislation for trying to take away states' ability to require the labels. There is no similar bill in the Senate.