US Senate bans GMO labelling of food packs

Lobbyists for the food industry have recorded a victory, after the US House of Representatives passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act by a majority of 270 to 150 on 23 July.

The new federal law will pre-empt any US state from implementing its own requirement for foods to be labelled if they contain genetically modified (GMO) crops. Congressional supporters claim GMO foods have been shown to be safe and compulsory labelling would constitute an unnecessary burden on businesses.

The move will have a particular sting for local legislators in Vermont. In 2014, the state’s legislature has passed a law – Act 120 – requiring labelling of foodstuffs with genetically engineered components. It was scheduled to come into effect on 1 July 2016. Trade bodies like the Grocery Manufacturers Association had protested against the move, claiming it violated their First Amendment rights under the US Constitution.

One Democratic Party legislator who voted against the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act was John Conyers. According to a report from Reuters, he says: ‘[The bill] makes it impossible for people to know what they are purchasing and eating. It is an attack on transparency.’

Representative Conyers’s position is also broadly supported by environmental lobby groups in the US.

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.