By Maria Godoy – NPR, 16 March 2016


Protesters gathered at the New York state Capitol in Albany earlier this month to lobby their legislators to make GMO labels on foods mandatory in the state. Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images


It’s been called “perhaps the most contentious issue in the food industry”: Should food products be labeled to indicate they contain genetically modified ingredients?

Leading Republicans in the Senate tried to answer that question on Wednesday with a clear “no,” but failed. The Senate rejected a bill that would have prevented any state from requiring GMO labels on food. The bill, sponsored by Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, would have created a voluntary national labeling standard for foods containing GMOs, but it would have blocked Vermont from implementing its first-in-the-nation mandatory GMO labeling law, currently set to take effect on July 1.

The Roberts bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward. The cloture motion failed 48-49. Now, a compromise will almost certainly have to be crafted.

Before the vote, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the Senate agriculture committee’s ranking Democrat, said negotiations would carry on, and she hoped a deal on a national GMO labeling standard could still be worked out before the end of the week, according to AgriPulse.

Among those opposing the Roberts measure was Just Label It, a coalition of businesses and organizations supporting mandatory GMO labels on food.



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