Ag Policy Blog

Dueling Biotech Labeling Efforts in Congress

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, lashed out Thursday at three Democrats in Congress for introducing a bill that would require labeling foods that have ingredients from biotech crops. The congressmen said lawmakers should "stop listening to celebrity chefs and well-heeled 'activists,' and start really caring about those less fortunate."

Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut introduced a bill in the Senate and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon introduce a bill in the House. The bills are called the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. The bills would require labeling for foods that contained ingredients from biotech crops and require FDA oversight. The lawmakers introduced the same legislation in the prior Congress, but it did not go anywhere.

The Democrats were joined by Tom Colicchio, a celebrity chef who created an organization specifically to force the issue of labeling foods that have ingredients from GMO crops.

“The public wants more information about the food they are buying and how it’s grown,” Colicchio said in a news release.

Environmental Working Group and the Center for Food Safety are backing the Democratic bill.

Pompeo has opposing legislation in the works that would only require FDA labeling for foods with ingredients from biotech crops if the GMO was considered a health risk.

"There is no question that GMO crops are both safe and necessary for the future of our planet. It is disappointing that Congressman DeFazio and Senator Boxer would again introduce legislation to make it harder for American families to put food on the table and make it impossible to fight hunger around the world. It’s time for politicians to stop listening to celebrity chefs and well-heeled 'activists,' and start really caring about those less fortunate."

Pompeo said he plans to reintroduce his bill, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, in the coming weeks. That bill last year was backed by agricultural groups and major food processors but it also did not move in Congress.

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2/18/2015 | 10:29 AM CST
Nothing like thinking with emotion not backed up by scientific facts.
melvin meister
2/17/2015 | 9:50 PM CST
Nothing like working for the big food companies and just ignoring people