A Senate committee is moving forward on legislation that would prevent states from requiring labels on genetically modified foods.
Vermont is set to require such labels this summer. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas released draft legislation late Friday that would block that law and create new voluntary labels for companies that want to use them on food packages that contain genetically modified ingredients. The Senate panel is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday.
The bill is similar to legislation the House passed last year. The food industry has argued that GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are safe and a patchwork of state laws isn’t practical. Labeling advocates have been fighting state-by-state to enact the labeling, with the eventual goal of a national standard.
Senators have said they want to find a compromise on the labeling issue before Vermont’s law kicks in. But negotiations broke down between the food industry and labeling advocates.
Roberts said in a statement after releasing the draft that “negotiations will continue in an effort to reach committee agreement.”