#AgLaw: Safe and Accurate Food Labeling – GMOs
August 5, 2015
H.R.1599 – Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015
H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 passed the House of Representatives on July 23, 2015 by a recorded vote: 275 – 150. H.R. 1599 has been received in the Senate, read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo [R-KS], this bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the developer of a bioengineered organism intended as food to submit a premarket biotechnology notification to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A “bioengineered organism” (commonly called a “genetically modified organism” or “GMO”) is a plant or part of a plant that has been modified through recombinant DNA techniques in a way that could not be obtained using conventional breeding techniques.
The developer must determine, and the FDA approve, that the GMO food is as safe as a comparable non-GMO food. If the FDA discovers a material difference between these two foods, the FDA can specify labeling that informs consumers of the difference.
A food can be labelled as “non-GMO” only if the ingredients are subject to certain supply chain process controls. No food label can suggest that non-GMO foods are safer than GMO foods. A food can be labeled as non-GMO even if it is produced with a GMO processing aid or enzyme or derived from animals fed GMO feed or given GMO drugs.
- The FDA must allow, but not require, GMO food to be labeled as GMO.
- The FDA must regulate the use of “natural” on food labels.
- This bill amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Agricultural Marketing Service to establish a program to certify non-GMO food.
- This bill preempts state and local restrictions on GMOs or GMO food and labeling requirements for GMOs, GMO food, non-GMO food, or “natural” food.