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GM Labeling Legislation Takes Center Stage

Legislation requiring labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients has been covered extensively in the media this week.

The Senate voted 65-32 on July 6 to advance the GM labeling bill. The Senate will now have 30 hours to debate the bill before a final vote. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts expects a final vote on the bill, which would only require a simple majority, Thursday evening, according to Agri-Pulse. The House of Representatives will still have to act on the legislation, before it becomes law.

If passed, federal legislation would void any state legislation requiring GM labeling. Vermont became the first state to require the labeling of food with GM ingredients, with state legislation that went into effect, July 1, though there is a one-year grace period. The federal legislation would allow digital disclosure of biotech ingredients, and does not require on-pack labeling, as the Vermont law does.

The issue is complex, with the Food and Drug Administration releasing a technical assessment finding loopholes in the bill, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture responded saying regulatory officials will follow the spirit of the law when crafting rules.