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Illinois
WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Bi-Partisan Lawmakers Say GMO Standards Should Be Voluntary

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A bi-partisan group of lawmakers from Illinois and Missouri say labeling genetically engineered foods should be voluntary as a national standard.

Congress is considering a bill to block individual states from requiring labels for genetically engineered foods. 

The bill leaves it up to the FDA to determine whether a particular food poses a health risk and must be labeled. Monsanto and other companies want Congress to act because a Vermont law will require labels beginning next year. 

John Reifsteck is an Illinois grain farmer and president of the cooperative GROWMARK. He says individual state labeling requirements would set back American agriculture.    

“Make no mistake, that’s what a patchwork of biotech labeling laws would represent – an unworkable step backward,” Reifsteck said.

Vermont Assistant Attorney General Todd Daloz says his state’s law is not a warning against genetically engineered foods, but he says consumers want to know.

“There was incredibly strong demand in Vermont for this labeling bill,” Daloz said. “There is in fact strong demand across the country for such labeling.”

Supporters say allowing a patchwork of state labeling laws would be costly and hurt American agriculture. Barring action by Congress or the courts, a Vermont law requiring labeling is set to go into effect in July 2016.