The House Agriculture Committee on July 14 approved H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. First introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, and G.K. Butterfield D-North Carolina, the legislation has evolved through bipartisan discussions between the Agriculture Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The amendment in the nature of a substitute, offered by Rep. Davis, R-Illinios, for H.R. 1599 will provide clarity and stability in the marketplace through national uniformity regarding marketing claims for food and feed products grown using the latest agricultural production technologies, according to K. Michael Conaway, chaiman of the House Agriculture Committee.
“I appreciate the collaborative efforts of the Energy and Commerce Committee in getting this bipartisan legislation completed and approved today. H.R. 1599 is the solution to an urgent and growing problem. The current patchwork system of varied labels interferes with the free flow of goods across the country, posing a real threat to interstate commerce and typically results in inconsistent and confusing information for consumers. Creating a uniform national policy regarding biotechnology labeling is the free market solution that will allow consumers access to meaningful information, create market opportunities for those on the production and processing side, and will facilitate future innovation,” said Conaway.
“Consumers increasingly want to know more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. I think H.R. 1599 satisfies that demand while also recognizing what we know about the safety of the foods that our farmers produce. The bill is a workable solution that will alleviate the potential mess of 50 states with 50 different labeling schemes,” said Collin Peterson, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee.
The committee’s approval of the bill was applauded by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), which is urging the entire House and Senate to also approve the legislation.
“The House and Senate must pass federal legislation this year; the continued threat of an unworkable patchwork of state GMO labeling mandates will drive up costs for farmers and consumers alike,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team chair John Linder. “Next July, Vermont’s state labeling law is set to take effect. The looming impacts of this situation increase the urgency of the need for Congress to act on a national labeling law.”