Since being introduced to the American marketplace, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have consistently had a safe track record in our food supply. In November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) denied a petition that asked for mandatory labeling of GMOs. In denying the petition, the FDA stated that there is not enough evidence to show that foods created from genetically engineered plants have any safety differences than foods produced from traditional plant breeding.
However, GMOs remain a hot button issue and there has been a recent push in some areas of the country to regulate labeling requirements for GMOs at the state level.
State level regulation of GMOs is not good for either businesses or consumers. A patchwork of laws on GMOs would force business to deal with a multitude of regulations that differ from state to state. This makes the regulation process more difficult and expensive for the business community to comply with as well as more confusing for consumers to understand.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 (H.R. 1599), a bill that will create a federal system for testing and labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs), passed the U.S. House of Representatives this year. To date, the Senate has not taken action. Since this is becoming an issue of urgency, language has been given to House and Senate Appropriations’ leaders to hopefully be included in the Omnibus bill that could be passed as soon as this Friday. The legislation includes preemption and a voluntary labeling system defined and administered by USDA. Additionally, the reforms would add scanable codes to food packaging that consumers could use to get information about ingredients, allergens and nutrition. This will provide Ohioans with accurate and consistent information on products containing GMOs
Ohio businesses need a consistent regulatory approach as they plan for future investments and financial decisions that impact Ohio’s economy. A national standard would provide the uniformity that is needed to guarantee our food manufacturers and retailers can follow one consistent process to adhere to, both in Ohio and around the country. Thus, the Ohio Chamber supports passing federal regulation regarding the labeling of GMOs. Implementing a federal GMO labeling standard would provide consumers with the most accurate information about the food they are buying and we urge congress to pass this bipartisan legislation, creating national GMO labeling uniformity.
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