FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Claire Parker
October 8, 2015
Wisconsin Members of CFSAF Tell Congress of Urgent Need For Uniform, National Food Labeling Standard
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives of Wisconsin’s agriculture and food sectors came to Capitol Hill yesterday 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 21 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 yesterday.
Participants in the fly-in expressed the urgent need for action by the Senate soon on the critical issue.
Wisconsin 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, 92 percent of the corn and 95 percent of the soybeans grown in Wisconsin were genetically modified.
“My wife and I run a 2,100-acre family farm, and we know firsthand how a state-by-state patchwork of different labeling requirements would make it much more difficult to plan for growing crops that could be used in all 50 states or produce food products for different markets according to state requirements.,” said Kevin Malchine, board director of GROWMARK, a network of supply and grain cooperatives. “In yesterday’s productive meetings with House and Senate lawmakers from Wisconsin, I explained the logistical nightmare for farmers like my wife and me should the Senate fail to act on a national labeling standard before these state labeling mandates go into effect.”
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.