FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Claire Parker
October 7, 2015
Pennsylvania Members of CFSAF Tell Congress of Urgent Need For Uniform, National Food Labeling Standard
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives of Pennsylvania’s agriculture and food sectors came to Capitol Hill today to urge passage by Congress of a uniform, national labeling standard for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
With Vermont set to implement its own labeling standard next July and other states passing or considering their own labeling mandates, participants in the fly-in expressed the urgency to get a federal bill passed this fall in order to stave off the negative effects of a patchwork of differing state labeling laws.
A uniform, national food labeling standard will ensure that consumers in all 50 states have access to the same labeling information, bringing consistency and transparency to the marketplace. Additionally, a GMO-free certification program will provide consumers who choose to purchase non-GMO items a reliable means of doing so.
The fly-in, organized by the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, featured men and women from 22 states who represent the entirety of the nation’s food supply chain: farming groups, co-ops, seed producers and food companies. In total, the group had more than 140 meetings on Capitol Hill today.
Participants in the fly-in expressed the urgent need for action by the Senate soon on the critical issue.
Pennsylvania farmers rely on GMOs to help them grow more crops on less land while using fewer pesticides, less irrigation and limiting greenhouse gas emissions. In 2014, 93 percent of the corn and 94 percent of the soybeans grown in Pennsylvania were genetically modified.
A state patchwork of labeling laws would also impact Pennsylvania food producers, forcing them to create costly new supply chains to meet the demands of each unique state law.
“A company like Utz would have real difficulty complying with a patchwork of state food labeling mandates, since our food supply chain is national in scope,” said Chuck Tullis, senior vice president of sales for Utz Quality Foods, based in Hanover, Pennsylvania. “Consumers from all over the country love our products and should see the same fact-based food labels wherever they shop, and we need the Senate to act soon to pass this legislation before individual state laws are implemented and costs rise for families, farmers and food producers like Utz.”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act in July by a significant 275-150 bipartisan vote, with 45 Democrats voting yes. That legislation would ensure that consumers have access to the same science-based information regardless of which state they shop in instead of different state mandates. It would also create a national GMO-free certification program that would provide consumers who prefer GMO-free foods a consistent means of identifying those products.
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food is committed to passing a reasonable, common sense labeling standard this fall and will continue to advocate for food labeling policies that keep prices down and provide reliable and consistent science-based information.
We are a broad-based coalition representing the entire American agriculture food supply chain – from farm to fork. We are committed to increasing the public’s understanding about the science and safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and advocating for science-based policies that keep food affordable for every American.