Feedstuffs magazine reports:
The House Rules Committee advanced the Senate's biotechnology food labeling bill that was passed last week in the Senate, setting up a vote before the House leaves for its summer recess on Friday.
The bill will come to the floor under a closed rule, meaning no amendments will be allowed.
The Coalition for Safe, Affordable Food, the industry group that backs the bill, called on the full House to quickly pass this legislation before the end of the week so that the costs and reduced consumer choices in Vermont do not spread further.
Monday more than 1,100 agriculture, food and business organizations and companies sent a letter, addressed to the House leadership and called for expedited consideration and the scheduling of floor time this week to ensure this bipartisan proposal receives passage before Congress adjourns for the summer recess.
Peterson did say during the rules committee discussion that we are still two to three years away from knowing how the U.S. Department of Agriculture will promulgate the rule.
It seems very likely there will be a major battle over the course of the next two years as the Agricultural Marketing Service attempts to write, draft, and then finalize rules for GMO labeling options – including what will no doubt be big debates over definitions, exemptions and technologies.
The Senate bill gives AMS two years to develop rules and regulations for the national labeling systems. Such a long time frame would provide an ample opening for opponents of labeling to attach an amendment, or policy “rider” to annual funding legislation that would block USDA from implementing the legislation. That scenario has played out numerous times in the past, including on country-of-origin labeling and on implementation of farm bill provisions with respect to the Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA rider).