It appears that the “Safe and Accurate Labeling Act” H.R. 1599, which as a bill title should make anyone following the GMO Controversy from any angle laugh out loud by the way (talk about politics), has hit a bit of a snag.
As reported yesterday at EENews.net, House Agriculture Committee lawmakers want more control over deciding which government agency — the Agriculture Department or the Food and Drug Administration — would control the regulation of labels for genetically modified foods. This leaves a much-publicized bill to create labeling standards in limbo.
Looks like we have two government agencies fighting for position, and it’s the Energy and Commerce Committee that has oversight of the FDA. “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of enthusiasm to move the bill in that committee, not as much enthusiasm as there is in the Ag Committee; that’s the problem,” said Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). He also added this regarding the FDA, “They get distracted by some of these people [who might promote] emotional things that are not scientific,” he said.
The bill, introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), would pre-empt state initiatives to affix labels on GMOs by reaffirming FDA’s role in regulating food labels, allowing the agency to develop guidelines for a voluntary labeling system. The legislation would also allow USDA to certify non-GMO products, in a manner similar to its program for certified organic goods.
Beyond the committee battle on H.R. 1599, senate agriculture supporters like Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) say they support a law to pre-empt state labeling initiatives, no one has come forward with a bill.
“It’s just now starting to pick up steam,” Grassley said last week, after meeting with the Iowa Biotechnology Association. It will be interesting to follow this storyline as well, especially with GMO labeling in Vermont receinving its final stamp of approval on Monday April 20th.
As for Mike Pompeo, his spokeswoman said the congressman expects to get the House bill passed by this summer, without needing to cede to the Agriculture Committee. Pompeo “looks forward to the Agriculture Committee marking-up this section of the bill,” wrote spokeswoman Heather Denker. “However, given the importance of the core issue — federal pre-emption of food labeling — to the entire food supply chain, the Congressman will work aggressively to see that provision signed into law.”
Click below to read the entire article over at EENews.net: