The “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” introduced Wednesday by U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), would put an end to state measures to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. The bill prohibits any mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food and also prohibits voters from proposing initiatives for labeling genetically engineered food at the state level. These state-level initiatives have received a great deal of press coverage recently with two successful bills in Maine and Connecticut, and measures that came up short in California and Washington.
Representative Pompeo reportedly told a group of agricultural journalists that the bill is intended to ensure that America can continue to produce an adequate amount of food to feed the world. He also underscored the fact that there currently exists no evidence that genetically engineered foods posed a health or safety risk to humans. In his view, GMO labels mislead consumers into thinking there may be a safety risk where none exists.
Critics of the proposed legislation argue that it will impede consumers right to know what they are buying and eating. Others have suggested that the bill would be unworkable given that it reportedly would require food companies to submit new genetically modified foods to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review. The food under review would be “base products,” such as vegetables or fruits, as opposed to the final food product, and would not affect companies labeling their foods as “GMO-free.”