Key components of the bill include regulations that would make FDA review all new bioengineered traits before they’re included in any food products, and enforce mandatory labels on any products found to pose a specific health, safety or nutritional risk. In addition, the bill requires FDA to officially define the word “natural” as it is used on food labels.
The bill also specifies that manufacturers may advertise their products as being GMO-free, but prohibits them from suggesting that this makes these products more safe or healthy.
Rep. Pompeo commented, “From the Kansas farmer’s harvest to a Kansas family’s table, our food supply is crucial to our economy, to our health, and to our way of life.” He added, “The Sunflower State has relied on technological advances in order to feed the world, and this bill would ensure our continued success in providing safe, affordable, and nutritious food.”
“This bill has resounding support from the North Carolina Farm Bureau and the agriculture community at-large,” said Rep. Butterfield. “It prevents a mishmash of labeling standards and allows farmers to continue to produce higher yields of healthy crops in smaller spaces with less water and fewer pesticides. If passed, this will be a big win for farmers nationwide.”
However, with the vast majority of consumers reporting that they want more transparency in the labeling of GMOs, food safety advocates see this bill as an attempt for the biotech industry and food manufacturers to avoid addressing this growing consumer demand.
Proponents of the bill claim that state specific regulation of GMOs would make it extremely difficult for companies to navigate, and feel the new federal law would reaffirm FDA as the sole authority in the labeling of the country’s food.