Here's What You Need to Know About the GMO Food Labeling Bill That Was Just Passed by the Senate

Here's What You Need to Know About the GMO Food Labeling Bill That Was Just Passed by the Senate

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Ariel Knutson
Jul 8, 2016
(Image credit: a katz/Shutterstock)

On Thursday the U.S. Senate approved legislation that would require food to list genetically modified ingredients. This bill passed the Senate 63-30 and would require photos, words, or a scannable QR code showing the GMO ingredients. The bill is the most recent attempt to find a national standard for labeling GMO food products, which would override state laws.

This bill passed in the Senate on the heels of July 1, where the controversial GMO labeling law went into effect in Vermont after passing in 2014.

Senator Bernie Sanders has spoken out against the bill by criticizing the options of how producers choose to show the GMO ingredients on their products. As Vox notes, small companies even have the option to just include a URL or phone number to share their GMO ingredients.

Critics of the bill also note that the language around the definition of GMO is fuzzy. As Vox notes on the bill, "It technically says food has to 'contain' modified genetic material, not simply come from a crop that’s been genetically modified." For example, the bill would not require animals raised on GMO ingredients to have the GMO labeling.

Reuters also explains the confusing language with soybean oil: "Soybean oil, which can be derived from genetically engineered crops, but contains next to no genetic material by the time it is processed, may not fall under the law's definition of a bioengineered food, critics say."

The bill is now pushed on for approval by the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass.

Read more: U.S. GMO food labeling bill passes Senate via Reuters

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