SFA President Testifies to Congress on GMO Labeling

March 24, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Snack Food Association (SFA) President & CEO Tom Dempsey today appeared before the House Agriculture Committee to discuss the costs, impacts, and challenges that a mandatory GMO labeling law would bring for food manufacturers.

Testifying before the Committee, Dempsey said mandatory GMO labeling laws at the state level, such as Vermont's Act 120, would wreak havoc and dramatically increase costs for both manufacturers and consumers. 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 patchwork of 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."

Two SFA members, Mr. Lynn Clarkson, President of Clarkson Grain Company, Inc. based in Cerro Gordo, IL and Mr. Chris Policinski, President and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc. based Arden Hills, MN testified beside Dempsey.

SFA supports federal legislation, which eliminates the current proposed patchwork of state GMO labeling laws by creating one voluntary GMO standard that eliminates confusion and advances food safety. SFA will continue to work closely with both Congress and the Coalition for Safe Affordable Foods on this critical issue. Food manufacturers and consumers alike urgently need a common sense solution.