The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday banning state labeling laws that require food companies to disclose genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their products.
The bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 275-150, which may come as a surprise to consumers who flock to stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, where products boasting “non-GMO” labels reign supreme.
It’s a hotly debated topic, with the food industry backing the bill. Star Tribune reports that “opponents of GMO labeling outspent supporters $30 million to $10 million in an aggressive lobbying effort, according to the open records group MapLight.”
Representative Rick Nolan, who opposed the House bill, said in a statement, “The issue isn’t whether GMO foods are healthy or safe. It’s about the right to know what’s in the food we buy for ourselves and our families. This is a serious problem begging for a solution. As yet, we haven’t seen a good one.”
According to Representative G.K. Butterfield, “The bill would require regulators to examine the safety profile of new GMO foods, replacing a voluntary consultation process, and set a national standard for voluntary GMO labeling” reports CNBC.
Currently, few states have enacted mandatory labeling laws, but if the House bill passes the Senate, those laws would no longer be in effect.