Senate Unable to Pass Biotechnology Labeling Bill
This week the Senate took up Chairman Roberts’ bill (S. 2609) along with his substitute (Amendment 3450) that would implement immediate preemption, preventing the Vermont labeling law from going into effect on July 1, 2016 and the current state-by-state patchwork efforts. In a 48-49 vote on Wednesday the Chairman’s bill failed, as his efforts to implement voluntary disclosure, under the direction of USDA, were thwarted. The Chairman made strides to find a bipartisan solution that included a survey after one year of voluntary labeling products to determine if a 70% threshold of participation of labeled foods with disclosure related bioengineering was met.
If not met, USDA would implement a mandatory labeling program that would utilize SmartLabel, websites and phone numbers. Unfortunately, this was not enough to garner the necessary 60 votes. Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow will continue to work together over the Easter recess to find a solution agreeable to both sides before the Vermont law is realized.
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