Fly-In Focuses on Uniform National Labeling Mandate

Fly-in attendees encourage federal solution verses a patchwork approach

From the producer to consumer, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been the topic of discussion when it comes to safe, affordable food. To address these concerns, state versus national labeling mandates are beginning to take center stage.

Minnesota Soybean CEO Tom Slunecka, along with members of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF) from 22 states, visited Capitol Hill Oct. 7 to urge Congress to pass a uniform, national food labeling standard for foods made with genetically modified organisms.

“This is a very powerful coalition that includes senior level staff from every part of Minnesota’s food production chain,” Slunecka said. “It takes all of us – from seed to the table.”

“By working together, we uncovered new concerns that could dramatically affect us all,” he added. “Our industry constantly has to adjust when additional production costs are added but this change will also bring consumers an added cost.”

The fly-in featured men and women from across the country who represent the entirety of the nation’s food supply chain – farming groups, co-ops, seed producers and food companies. With Vermont’s state labeling mandate set to go into effect in July and other labeling mandates passed or pending in even more states, participants said it was urgent for the Senate to take up and pass reasonable, common-sense legislation passed this fall that creates the same consistent labeling standard in every state in the country.

“In our meetings, we were encouraged to hear Senators from both parties say that they understand the need for a federal solution and came away confident that they understand how truly urgent this matter is,” said Wade Cowan, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA). “This is a critical issue for us, as 94 percent of the soybeans grown in the United States last year were genetically modified. As soybean farmers, we’ve been part of the GMO debate for nearly 20 years. Mandatory labeling will impact all aspects of our operations, from planting to cultivation, and significantly increase our costs. We want to continue to feed American families in a way that is sustainable and economically viable.”

In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act that ensures that consumers have access to the same science-based information instead of different state mandates. 

For more information on CFSAF, visit http://coalitionforsafeaffordablefood.org/