According to IDFA, which represents US dairy manufacturing and marketing industries, the “landmark agreement” protects America’s food supply system from a harmful patchwork of varying state labeling laws for foods made with GMO ingredients.
As a member of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, the IDFA has been a supporter of the bill since its inception, and urged House leaders to pass the bill after it received Senate approval. According to the Coalition the bill builds on the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act passed in 2015.
The new federal law will give consumers access to more product information than ever before and ensure a transparent national system for disclosing ingredients without stigmatizing a safe and proven technology, IDFA said.
"The new federal law explicitly preempts state GMO labeling laws, including Vermont's, and will bring much-needed consistency to the marketplace," Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and legal counsel, said.
According to the bill, the mandatory GMO disclosure standard for all food must be established within the next two years.
Terms of the agreement
The GMO disclosure bill requires food manufacturers to show whether products contain GMO ingredients, but certain companies have the option of providing digital GMO information about their products. For example, instead of printing it directly on the label, food manufacturers can make GMO information available through a QR code, which consumers can scan to pull up GMO ingredient information about the product.
Another option set forth by the agreement allows companies, typically smaller manufacturers with limited resources, to provide a website URL or phone number where shoppers can obtain more information pertaining to GMO ingredients.
Additionally, the document states that any food labeled as “USDA Certified Organic” is considered sufficient to make a claim regarding the absence of bioengineering in food, meaning if a food is labeled as organic it does not also have to include a “non-GMO” claim.