Senate GMO Labeling Bill Clears Procedural Hurdle

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The U.S. Senate Wednesday night cleared a procedural vote on the GMO labeling compromise by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts. The Senate voted 68-29 in favor of the vote, clearing the way for considerations on the Senate floor. Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, says the bill “will have the votes” to pass the Senate, likely next week. Senator Roberts, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, echoed Stabenow’s comments after the vote saying he looks forward to the Senate acting on the bill next week. Still, it’s unclear how many Democrats may ultimately support the bill. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced this week he plans to put a hold on the bill. Other Democrats want the bill to include mandatory on-package requirements, rather than giving food manufacturers the option of on-package labels, or smart labels that direct consumers to more information.

It’s not too late for lawmakers to preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling mandate. Though the state law takes effect Friday, the Vermont attorney general has said he will not start enforcing the law until the beginning of 2017.