Farm Bureau asks for parameters on GMO labeling rule
The American Farm Bureau Federation has submitted comments regarding a GMO labeling law that it supported in 2016.
The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, also known as the national GMO labeling rule, is intended to require the disclosure of bioengineered food ingredients. The standard was signed into law last year and gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture two years to enforce a rule by July 2018.
“The USDA rule must not confuse consumers on the safety of biotech crops,” commented Andrew Walmsley, AFBF congressional relations director. “What we want to see is a rule that doesn’t disparage a perfectly safe and healthy product. This isn’t a health or safety or nutrition standard, it’s purely a marketing standard.”
AFBF wants to ensure that the USDA enforces the rule so that it provides information to consumers and doesn’t mislead them on the contents of food products.
“Farmers follow the law, we follow science and it’s implemented in a way that doesn’t disparage a perfectly safe and very important tool that farmers need to meet the challenges of the future,” Walmsley explained.
The USDA is expected to release a final rule later this fall.
The original bill was introduced by U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, to address the patchwork of state labeling laws. Roberts’ bill provided a national framework to place standards in the hands of the USDA and create a campaign to educate the public on the safety of GMOs and how they can find out more about foods they purchase. The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation joined AFBF and the National Corn Growers Association in supporting it.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the bill was necessary to “protect consumers from misleading labels and the increase that state-by-state labeling rules can impose on food prices.”