President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law a bill requiring the labeling on foods with genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients.
According to a statement by the White House, Senate Bill 764 directs the Secretary of Agriculture to “establish a national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard.”
A number of agriculture organizations and food manufacturing associations applauded the passage of the bill as it made its way through the Senate and House earlier in July.
“The passage of this bill allows for both consumers and producers to move on from this fight, and benefit from a uniformed, standardized labeling law across the country," said Richard Wilkins, president of the American Soybean Association, prior to its signing.
“The bill is a resounding rejection of activists who have been working for years to undermine consumers’ understanding of the safety of food biotechnology,” added Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “It reasserts the federal government’s role in regulating food labeling and ends the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach of potentially conflicting state laws in this area.”
The law will preempt the Vermont GMO labeling law that went into effect July 1.
USDA has two years to write the rules of the new legislation, which will cover foods created with conventional recombinant DNA techniques. It will not include food products created with CRISPR, a more precise gene-editing technology.
Foods coming from livestock like beef, milk, pork, poultry or eggs do not require a GMO label, even if the animal ate feed containing GM corn or soybeans.