WASHINGTON — The House Committee on Agriculture on July 14 approved H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. The bill, which was introduced in March by Representatives Mike Pompeo of Kansas and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, has evolved through bipartisan discussions between the Agriculture Committee and the Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act is designed to prevent individual states from passing legislation requiring the labeling of food and beverage products containing bioengineered ingredients.
|K. Michael Conaway of Texas, chairman 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,” said Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. “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.”
Representative Rodney Davis, chairman of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, thanked Mr. Conaway and Mr. Pompeo for their work on the bill.
|Rodney Davis, chairman of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research.|
“As a parent, I believe it is important to have national and reliable food labels, and this bill does that by allowing for an effective, uniform labeling system that consumers can trust,” Mr. Davis said. “Without a national standard, we risk the spread of misinformation and increased food costs. Just as consumers can go to the grocery store and identify organic products, this bill will allow them to do the same with G.M.O.-free products.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (G.M.A.) praised the passage of the bill.
“Today’s House Agriculture Committee vote is further evidence of the growing support and momentum in Congress for this bill, and we urge the full House to pass it before the August recess,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A. “This critically important bipartisan legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food rather than a 50-state patchwork of labeling laws that will only prove costly and confusing for consumers, farmers and food manufacturers.
|Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A.|
“It is imperative that the House and Senate move quickly to pass the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” Ms. Bailey added. “It will put a science-based framework in place that provides consumers across the country with uniform food labeling standards.”
The American Soybean Association (A.S.A.) also applauded the House Agriculture Committee for marking up and approving the bill.
“Consumers continue to demand more transparency and accountability from food producers,” said Wade Cowan, president of the A.S.A. and a soybean farmer from Brownfield, Texas. “This bill ensures that a multi-state patchwork of state regulations is avoided.” Mr. Cowan said the A.S.A. is now engaged in efforts to garner chamber-wide support for the bill.
|Wade Cowan, president of the A.S.A.|