House to vote on Pompeo voluntary GMO labeling bill today

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

House to vote on Pompeo GMO labeling bill today

Related tags Genetically modified organism Genetically modified food

The US House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 1599 – The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act 2015 – at approximately 1 p.m eastern time today.

The Act - which anti-GMO activists have dubbed the DARK Act ('Denying Americans the Right-to-Know') - would stop/pre-empt state laws requiring labeling of genetically modified foods (such as that which passed in Vermont recently) and set up a federal voluntary 'non-GMO' labeling system instead.

Under the proposed legislation, which was introduced by Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and has 106 co-sponsors​, labeling of a food product containing or consisting of a GM plant would only be required if two conditions are met:

1. There is “a meaningful difference in the functional, nutritional, or compositional characteristics, allergenicity, or other attributes between the food so produced and its comparable food”;

2. The labeling is “necessary to protect public health and safety or to prevent the label or labeling of the food so produced from being false or misleading”.​ 

It would also permit firms to make 'natural' claims on foods made with GM ingredients.

However, four amendments will also be considered today, one of which (introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn) would prohibit the use of the term 'natural' on food when a food consists of a genetically engineered plant.

Other proposed amendments include one by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), which says if a US company or subsidiary labels a product as containing GMOs in any foreign country, it must label the equivalent product the same way in the US.

Another, proposed by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and others, would ensure tribal sovereignty to prohibit or restrict the cultivation of genetically engineered plants on tribal lands.

Finally, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), would strike the entire bill and add back the section that creates a non-GMO certification program and label at USDA.

Opponents are pushing the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), with identical bills introduced in the House and the Senate.  

Read the text of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 HERE​.

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