House Passes Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act
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The US House of Representatives passed the Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act on July 23, 2015. The bill would preempt and state or local labeling restrictions. The bill would allow labeling where the FDA determines a material difference in a genetically engineered food from conventionally produced food. The bill will also change the FDA review of genetically engineered foods from a voluntary consultative process to mandatory. The bill will next go to the Senate for consideration. The summary from www.congress.gov:
H.R.1599 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Summary: H.R.1599 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) All Bill Information (Except Text)
Introduced in House (03/25/2015)
Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015
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 premarket notification must include the developer’s determination that food from, containing, or consisting of the GMO (GMO food) is as safe as a comparable non-GMO food. For the GMO to be sold as food, the FDA must not object to the developer’s determination. If the FDA determines that there is a material difference between a GMO food and a comparable non-GMO food, the FDA can specify labeling that informs consumers of the difference.
A food label can only claim that a food is non-GMO 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.