Ag pushes Biotech Labeling Bill

Oregon-Farm-BureauBy Oregon Farm Bureau,

Please call Senators Wyden and Merkley TODAY asking for their support for S. 2609, the Biotech Labeling Solutions Act.

The Senate Agriculture Committee on March 1 approved Chairman Pat Roberts’ biotech labeling proposal on a bipartisan vote of 14-6.

The compromise legislation will provide strong preemption and a tight definition on ‘bioengineering’ immediately. Within one year, USDA will develop standards and definitions for the voluntarily labeling of foods from biotech ingredients.

After three years, USDA will make a determination if substantial participation by the marketplace in making information available regarding the presence or use of bioengineering in food. The threshold for use of the voluntary standard is expected to be 70 percent of most frequently consumed labeled foods. If it is determined that there is not substantial participation, USDA shall establish a national mandatory labeling standard that allows for a variety of disclosure methods, including: on-package labels, websites, scannable technology, call centers or other options considered appropriate by the Secretary. The mandatory disclosure requirement would be effective two years after the Secretary’s determination and rulemaking are complete. Enforcement of the mandatory standard is accomplished through an examination and audit process that allows for a hearing before a summary of the audit is made public. Note: food served in restaurants would not be subject to this mandatory requirement.

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