June 29, 2016
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, urges the Senate to take up and pass the legislation on biotech labeling negotiated chiefly by Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow.
This legislation represents a strong bipartisan effort to prevent increased costs and the chaos that would result from myriad individual state regulations for labeling food products that are sold nationwide. The legislation would provide helpful disclosure options for companies that would be regulated and provides more flexibility for small and very small food manufacturers. The legislation also would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to undertake a study to ensure that appropriate technology is available for consumers to easily access such information.
At the same time, the legislation would provide consumers with access to more information about food products, if they want it, without driving up costs for the most vulnerable populations. Critically important, that information could be found without stigmatizing ingredients that are produced from, or that contain, biotechnology. Biotechnology is the future of food, agriculture, and medicine, and it is a cornerstone of domestic investment and innovation.
The legislation would strike the right balance by providing regulatory certainty for the food supply chain, allowing consumers to obtain more information if they want it, and protecting the biotechnology industry from harmful and stigmatizing mandatory warning labels.
For these reasons, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the bipartisan legislation crafted by Senators Roberts and Stabenow that would create a uniform, national, and science-based framework for labeling genetically engineering food and ingredients.
The Chamber urges you to support this legislation and may consider votes on, or in relation to, it in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten