Perdue Backs Biotech Labels

Ag Secretary Reaffirms Support for Biotech Labeling

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
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A listening session participant told Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue that the food industry wants the biotech labeling program, which was passed to avoid state labeling on the content of foods with genetically modified ingredients. (DTN file photo by Emily Unglesbee)

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday reaffirmed his support for the biotech labeling program passed by Congress last year when he presided over a listening session on reducing regulation.

The session focused on how USDA could reduce regulation, but a participant told him that the food industry wants the biotech labeling program, which was passed to avoid state labeling on the content of foods with genetically modified ingredients.

Perdue said he had been strongly communicating to the Office of Management and Budget that Congress had passed the labeling program and that it would save money for industry.

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Perdue and Rebeckah Adcock, a senior adviser, listened as a room full of industry officials expressed their ideas on regulations. Most of the lobbyists presented well-known positions.

But there was one disagreement. A National Pork Producers Council representive urged Perdue to rescind the Farmer Fair Practices Act, also known as the GIPSA rule, which would make changes in relations with producers that the meat industry has opposed.

But National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson urged Perdue to "keep the little guy in mind" and not make him sue and prove that "the entire economy is at fault" in order to get help with unfair treatment.

Adcock said the Trump administration had assembled a regulatory task force of mostly civil servants to come up with ideas on how to create jobs and how regulation could be more efficient. Adcock also said there would be four comment periods on the effort.

The event was held in conjunction with similar events held at all other agencies to showcase the administration's strategy for regulatory reform and significantly increase the pace of reform across the federal government, USDA said.

(AG)

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Jerry Hagstrom

Jerry Hagstrom
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