Food Industry Looks to Congress as GMO Labeling Law Nears

The food industry wants Congress to pre-empt Vermont's law and bar mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods before it goes into effect.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The food industry is pressuring Congress to act before the state of Vermont requires food labels for genetically modified ingredients.

At issue is how food companies will deal with Vermont's law, the first in the country. They could make separate food packages just for the state, label all their items with genetically modified ingredients or withdraw from the small Vermont market. The law kicks in by July, but the companies have to start making those decisions now.

The food industry wants Congress to pre-empt Vermont's law and bar mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods before it goes into effect. They argue that GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are safe and a patchwork of state laws isn't practical.

Labeling advocates have been fighting state-by-state to enact the labeling, with the eventual goal of a national standard.

Lawmakers are divided but agree that a compromise needs to be worked out before this summer.

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