WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford (R-Okla.) today voted for bipartisan legislation to establish a mandatory, uniform national standard of disclosure for bioengineered or genetically modified (GMO) food. The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 63 to 30, and now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
“Due to the growing number of states creating individual food labeling mandates, industry and the agriculture community will soon be facing a crushing burden from a patchwork of compliance standards,” Inhofe said. “I voted for Senate legislation to establish a uniform national standard for disclosing bioengineered food because this was a meaningful bipartisan response to Congress’s constitutional duty to support and protect interstate commerce. Once law, the food industry will have a clear and straightforward standard that in turn will provide Americans with relevant information for when they make their food choices. Furthermore, this legislation garnered the support of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and other prominent state industry groups because of the regulatory certainty it will provide, allowing Oklahoma’s agriculture industry to continue to competitively sell its products across the nation and in turn support jobs in our state and further build our economy."
“Oklahoma produces the food and fiber that feeds and clothes the world,” said Lankford. “Special interest groups have repeatedly attacked our agricultural products with false claims and misinformation. Everyone in our nation has a right to their own opinion, but facts should control America’s policy decisions. Today’s vote to provide consistent, non-threatening information to the consumer allows people to make their own decisions without the imposed bias of activist organizations and will prevent increased prices in grocery costs due to individual state labeling.”
The legislation has the support of the following industries: Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Ag Coop Council, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma Pork Council, CoBank and Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma, American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Grocery Manufacturers Association, American Farmers and Ranches, and Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
“Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers rely on genetically-modified crops to produce high-quality and affordable food for the world,” said Tom Buchanan, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. “While no scientific evidence exists to warrant a mandatory GMO label, state-by-state labeling laws only confuse consumers and increase food prices. As Oklahoma's largest general farm organization, we support the Senate’s bipartisan legislation because it will create a uniform standard and prevent a patchwork of state laws. We appreciate Sen. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford’s vote today and his continual support of Oklahoma agriculture.”
“The Oklahoma Pork Council appreciates Senator Inhofe’s support of the Roberts/Stabenow compromise on GMO labeling,” said Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council. “This compromise helps avoid the uncertainty and inconsistency that a patchwork of state laws would create. A system where the same product required one label in a specific state and a different label in a second state is simply not a manageable system. The compromise in the Roberts/Stabenow bill eliminates the possibility of 50 different state standards and allows food producers to use a common label regardless of where the product will be sold.”
“Oklahoma cattle ranchers appreciate Senator Inhofe's support for the Roberts/Stabenow GMO Bill,” said Charlie Swanson, president of Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. “It is very important that food labeling laws be consistent across our country so that consumers can be reassured of the choices they have. A patchwork of state laws will only harm consumers by decreasing food choices and driving up food costs. Mindful of the consumer and the farmer, Senator Inhofe and Senator Lankford again supports common sense policy with their 'yes' vote on this important legislation.”