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Taking inspirations from the well-known “USDA organic” label, Republican members in the US House have proposed a new government certification for foods that don’t contain ingredients for genetically modified items.
This is seen as an attempt to block compulsory food labeling including the genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who will introduce a bill in this regard on Wednesday, said that the certification would be a voluntary one.
According to Pompeo, food labeling under government certification would allow the food companies to easily advertise their products as GMO-free, but it would not be mandatory for others.
“We’re perfectly happy to have folks to understand if there’s GMOs or not in their food. It is simply not the case that you can have affordable food that is safe and 1,000 different rules,” Pompeo said.
The food industry has welcomed Pompeo’s bill, but has taken tough stance against the individual state efforts requiring food labeling, saying such labels would prove to be misleading as GMOs are safe. Any state laws requiring the labeling would be override by the bill.
Under the proposed bill, the Department of Agriculture would oversee the certification as done with organics.
The bill will also step up the review of genetically modified foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, food firms must comply with the guidance underlined by the federal authority in case they wish to claim their foods are free of genetically modified ingredients.