The Michigan Senate Agriculture Committee took up consideration of SR 59 at a hearing last week. The bill moved out of Committee on a 5-0 vote. It urges the U.S. Senate's passage of the Safe & Accurate Food Labeling Act. The bill now moves to the full Michigan Senate for a floor vote slated for September 24.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act proposes to reaffirm the authority of federal regulators to oversee food labeling and safety. It guarantees that consumers have access to the same information regardless of which state or grocery store they are shopping in. It also creates a national GMO-free certification program that will provide consumers who prefer to buy non-GMO foods a consistent, reliable means of doing so.
MichBio joins many other regional and national groups in strong support of the federal legislation. It’s a reasonable, common sense approach that benefits everyone, and avoids the mess of having a litany state-specific laws that will add needless costs to the food production system. Such state laws would stifle technological innovation and make life harder for family farmers, all while doing nothing to provide accurate information to consumers.
Michigan farmers take advantage of this technology on a daily basis. In 2014, 93 percent of the corn, 91 percent of the soybean crop and 100 percent of the sugar beets in Michigan were genetically modified.
This could all be at risk if anti-GMO activists have their way and convince states to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws that have no basis in science and would misinform the public. GMO labeling would likely be seen as a warning label by consumers, even though there is no scientific justification for such a perception. As a result, the reputation of a technology that has such exciting potential and has been proven safe would be needlessly harmed.
H.R. 1599 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 275-150 margin in July, with strong bipartisan support. We hope that Michigan’s Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters will stand up for science, innovation and honesty in labeling and support the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.