Food industry-backed federal legislation that seeks to derail state efforts to pass mandatory labeling laws for genetically modified foods is expected to be introduced soon, media reports indicate.
Politico.com has reported Rep. Michael Pompeo, R-Kan., has agreed to introduce a GMO food labeling bill that would preempt state efforts to require mandatory labeling.
A number of state legislatures have debated the issue of mandatory labeling legislation for GMO food this year, including lawmakers in Hawaii, New York, Rhode Island and Michigan.
The Hill.com, a media outlet covering Capitol Hill, said in an earlier report that the legislation is backed by a coalition of food groups, led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The legislation is expected to ask FDA to develop a voluntary labeling program for GMO foods. Several consumer groups, including the Center for Food Safety, has pushed for mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.
A spokesman for Pompeo said the lawmaker has not yet confirmed the report that he will sponsor the legislation.
John Keeling, executive vice president and chief executive officer for the National Potato Council, said the council will take a position on the expected legislation but has not done so yet.
“We’re watching this legislation, as well as discussions within the food industry about the GMO labeling issue,” said Ray Gilmer, vice president of issues management and communication for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.
Gilmer said United Fresh created a task force last fall to examine several aspects of GMO technology and labeling. The GMO issue, including labeling legislation, is expected to be on the agendas for United’s upcoming government relations council meetings and board of directors meetings in coming weeks, he said.