The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday approved a bill that would block states and localities from requiring mandatory labeling of food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It would also set up a voluntary federal program for manufacturers to certify foods that don’t contain GMOs.
The bill’s supporters—Republicans, some Democrats, and the food industry—call the bill a science-based effort to balance consumer right-to-know concerns with the need for a uniform national policy. Opponents of the bill, including environmental and food activists and liberal Democrats, argue that it would deny people the right to know what is in their food.
On a 275 to 150 vote, with 45 Democrats joining 230 Republicans, the House approved H.R. 1599, the Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act, a measure sponsored by Representative Mike Pompeo (R–KS). The bill’s future in the Senate is unclear and the White House has yet to weigh in. But proponents called it a first step toward a badly needed update to the nation’s food policy in the biotechnology age.