Editor’s Note: Rep. Mark Takai has sent this letter out to constituents on his e-mail list. We pass it on to you. –AM
This week, the House will consider H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. Under the guise of consumer protection, this bill would do nothing more than limit the ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) products. While it includes vague language regarding voluntary labeling, it would also nullify current state laws that regulate GMO foods. I simply cannot support this bill.
The people of our nation deserve to have consumer clarity, and be able to make their own decisions on the type of food they buy. In order to meet this goal, I have joined with Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) to cosponsor legislation that will return transparency to the food labeling process. Along with many of my democratic colleagues, I support H.R. 913, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. This legislation would enhance GMO labeling by creating a national standard to label food products developed by the FDA.
To date, our nation does not have a uniform system in place that allows consumers to make educated decisions. For nearly 15 years, we have had voluntary labeling; however, standards often differ and lead to variances in the definition of natural and GMO products. Clearly, this process must be improved.
Enacting legislation like H.R. 913 would harmonize U.S. policy with the 64 other countries that require the labeling of GMO foods, including countries possessing some of our largest agricultural markets. This would make it easier for producers, processors, and packagers to comply with labeling requirements, and in turn help export our products around the world.
If you have any questions regarding my stance on GMOs please feel free to contact my office here .