SFA CEO Urges Congress to Approve Federal Standard for GMO Food Labels

Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act currently pending in the House of Representatives

December 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Snack Food Association (SFA) President & CEO Tom Dempsey urged Congress on December 10 to approve legislation creating a federal standard for labeling food produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Representing food manufacturers before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Dempsey said mandatory GMO labeling laws at the state level, such as Vermont's Act 120, would wreak havoc and dramatically increase costs for manufacturers and consumers alike. The requirements, could perhaps even force smaller companies to cease production.

"Absent a federal GMO solution, manufacturers will have essentially three options in order to comply with a state labeling laws," Dempsey said. Those choices would be to order new packaging for products, reformulate products so no labeling is required, or halt sales to that state. "Each option is difficult, costly, time-intensive, and at worst, could eliminate jobs and consumer choice in the marketplace," he said.

The entire supply chain from sourcing to production to distribution would be impacted through such laws.

"This would become even more complicated if additional states pass their own onerous regulations with different requirements," he said pointing out that SFA does not have a single member company that manufactures, distributes, and sells in just one state. Additional state laws similar to that enacted in Vermont would "place an insurmountable burden on our food supply chain and significantly increase cost to our consumers."

Thus, Dempsey said, SFA supports the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 4432), which "eliminates the current proposed patchwork of state GMO labeling laws and creates a federal standard which eliminates confusion, advances food safety, and provides much needed consistency for both manufacturers and consumers."

H.R. 4432 was introduced in April by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and is pending before the Subcommittee on Health. The bill currently has 37 co-sponsors. SFA has worked closely with the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food to build support for the legislation.