Stabenow: Bipartisan Agreement is Win for Consumers, Establishes First Mandatory, Nationwide Label for GMO Foods While Providing Certainty, Uniformity for the Food Industry

Bipartisan Bill Covers Tens of Thousands of Food Products Exempt from Vermont’s Law; Protects Integrity of Organic Food

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today announced that she has reached a bipartisan agreement with Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) on legislation that would require the first mandatory, nationwide label for food products containing genetically modified organisms – more commonly known as GMOs.

“This bipartisan bill is a win for consumers and families,” Stabenow said. “For the first time ever, consumers will have a national, mandatory label for food products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

“This proposal is also a win for our nation’s farmers and food producers,” Stabenow continued. “Throughout this process I worked to ensure that any agreement would recognize the scientific consensus that biotechnology is safe, while also making sure consumers have the right to know what is in their food. I also wanted a bill that prevents a confusing patchwork of 50 different rules in each state. This bill achieved all of those goals, and most importantly recognizes that consumers want more information about the foods they buy.”

The agreement would establish a national, mandatory system of disclosure for food that contains GMO ingredients. The agreement also closes glaring loopholes under the Vermont law which would have allowed tens of thousands of processed food products, like frozen dinners or entrees that contain meat and GMO ingredients, to go unlabeled. Under the law in Vermont, for example, a cheese pizza could be labeled but a pepperoni pizza could not, even if it contained a GMO ingredient.

Additionally, Stabenow also fought for important provisions to maintain the integrity of our nation’s organic program. Although organics have always been non-GMO, this agreement ensures organic producers can clearly display a “non-GMO” label in addition to the organic seal, providing additional information to consumers about the food they eat. 

Finally, the agreement contains important provisions that uphold strong consumer protection laws at both the state and federal levels. Stabenow worked to secure these provisions to ensure that the bill would not impede on state’s rights.

A copy of the bipartisan agreement can be found: HERE.