Sanders' Food Labeling Amendment Fails In Senate

06/21/12 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel

Sen. Bernie Sanders' plan to give individual states the authority to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods has been defeated in the U.S. Senate by a three to one margin.  Sanders' proposal was one of more than 70 amendments to the 2012 Farm Bill.

The Vermont Legislature considered a GE food labeling bill this session but Democratic leaders decided not to pursue the plan because of fears that the legislation would result in a lengthy and expensive legal fight with a number of major chemical companies.

Sanders said this is a classic states' rights issue.

"This is a very conservative amendment," he said. "It says that the American people should have the right to know what is in the food that they and their children are eating and if that food contains genetically engineered products," said Sanders. "This amendment grants states to authority to label genetically engineered foods it is not a mandate."

Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow is the chair of the Senate Agriculture committee. She opposed the plan because she was concerned that it would interfere with the development of drought resistant crops.

"Consumers certainly need to have available information. We need to make sure it's accurate according to the FDA after they determine that and I would make one other point," said Stabenow. "You know American farmers are feeding the world with 7 billion mouths to feed this is harder every day. Science innovation is very important to that."

Despite the defeat of his amendment, Sanders said he's encouraged that 26 senators supported the concept of allowing states to label these foods.


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