Powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups announced Thursday they are banding together to push a federal voluntary labeling standard for genetically engineered food in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labeling.
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food consists of 29 formidable trade groups that say they plan to lobby on Capitol Hill for a national standard that would allow manufacturers to voluntarily label food and beverage products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In recent years, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though not without dragging members of the new Coalition into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures.
The group says it will seek to empower the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients.” In addition, the Coalition proposes the FDA mandate labels for GMO food or ingredients that the agency deems a “health, safety or nutrition issue,” though no consumables currently fall in such a category.
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