By Tim Devaney - 03/01/16 11:43 AM EST
A Senate panel voted Tuesday to advance legislation that would block states from imposing labeling requirements for genetically modified foods.
"Now is not the time for Congress to make food more expensive for anyone,” said Sen. Pat RobertsPat RobertsGOP senators ask watchdog to examine Gitmo site surveys spending Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners Congress set for Saudi showdown with Obama MORE (R-Kan.), who sponsored the bill.
Supporters of the bill say that a patchwork of state rules will make it more costly for food companies to comply and that those costs will be passed on to consumers. They also say that additional labeling requirements are unnecessary for foods that have already been deemed safe by the government.
But Democrats who oppose the bill say consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they’re eating.
The GOP-backed bill would “move production methods into the shadows” and “give agriculture a black eye,” said Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Leahy wants Judiciary hearing on Yahoo Overnight Cybersecurity: FBI probes possible hack of Dems' phones | Trump's '400-pound hacker' | Pressure builds on Yahoo | Poll trolls run wild MORE (D-Vt.).
“The legislation undermines the public’s right to know,” he added.
The bill would replace state-by-state mandatory GMO labeling requirements with a voluntary national standard.
The committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowMichigan Dems highlight Flint with unanimous opposition to CR How Congress averted shutdown Senate passes funding bill to avoid shutdown MORE (Mich.) said it does not go far enough to protect consumers.
“It must contain a pathway to a national system of mandatory disclosures for consumers,” she said. “The bill before us today does not meet that important requirement. A voluntary program is not enough to meet consumer demand. That’s why I will not be voting for it."