Republicans failed to persuade all within their own party, let alone a handful of Democrats to go along with them, in a vote today that would have preempted a patchwork approach of state laws mandating GMO labeling. The final vote, 48-49, lacked 12 to reach the 60 votes required for cloture on the measure. Leaders indicate they are trying to find a pathway forward to block the State of Vermont’s mandatory labeling law that will go into effect on July 1, 2016. Senator Kirk voted for the plan to block mandatory labels, Senator Durbin voted against the plan. Senator Durbin recently told Central Illinois radio listeners he thinks GMO disclosure is important.
Food manufacturers are expected to start the switch over to a new labeling system to comply with the Vermont labeling law soon. A recent Corn Refiners Association study indicates that the average American family will see food costs increase by $1050 a year because of the mandatory labeling standard set forth at the state level.
National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling said, “U.S. corn farmers are disappointed that, despite the clear demonstration of support from nearly 800 groups, the Senate failed to move this reasonable legislation forward. This legislation would have provided consumers with a greater amount of information in a consistent, clear manner. Farmers are committed to creating greater transparency in the food system, but we also need Congress to set clear, commonsense guidelines that are based in science and keep food affordable for American families.”
Illinois Corn Growers Association thanks those that made calls to our Senators asking for a yes vote on this plan. If another opportunity for action arises, we will let our membership know.
In the meantime, expect to see packaging at the grocery store change soon as food companies start making the switch to comply with the Vermont standard.