On July 14, 2016, the House of Representatives passed the GMO labeling compromise bill. The vote on the legislation was quite overwhelming, with 306 in favor compared to only 117 votes opposing the measure.
Reactions to the legislation were mixed, as expected. The compromise requires labeling, but companies can achieve compliance with the law by simply adding a QR code, a telephone number, or a website for consumers to get more information.
Pamela G. Bailey, chief executive of the Grocery Manufacturers Association stated:
Today’s vote is a resounding victory not only for consumers and common sense but also for the tremendous coalition of agricultural and food organizations that came together in unprecedented fashion to get this solution passed.
However, those proponents of mandatory GMO labeling were staunchly against the measure, citing discrimination against the poor and elderly as reasons. Not surprisingly, some of those proponents are expecting litigation over the definition of “biotechnology” under the compromise, and how that may be interpreted by the USDA.
Needless to say, this fight is far from over.
Previously, the Senate passed the same legislation. Because the same legislation was passed in both chambers of Congress, it can go directly to the President’s desk. The White House has indicated that President Obama will sign the it into law.