TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges the House to consider and pass before the
upcoming recess S. 764, a bill, which passed the Senate on July 7, to establish a federal standard
for biotechnology in agriculture and preempt state labeling regimes.
The Chamber applauds the Senate for passing this strong bipartisan legislation that would
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 disclosure
options for companies that would be regulated and 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
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.
The Chamber commends the leadership of Reps. Pompeo and Butterfield and their
cosponsors for crafting bipartisan House-passed legislation on this issue. If not for their
important work, legislation to address this issue would have continued to languish. It is
unfortunate that to some degree the regular order process on legislation to address agriculture
biotechnology broke down. With a patchwork of state-level regulation of biotechnology in
agriculture growing – particularly with the newly-effective Vermont labeling law – it is
imperative that Congress acts as swiftly as practicable.
The Chamber urges the House to approve S. 764 without amendment before the
upcoming Congressional recess.
R. Bruce Josten