WASHINGTON – The American Bakers Association said it was disappointed with the U.S. Senate’s vote March 16 against cloture on a voluntary national bioengineered labeling standard.
|Robb MacKie, president and c.e.o. of the A.B.A.|
“It is unfortunate that Senate leaders were unable to come together and provide bakers the federal preemption necessary to avoid an unworkable patchwork of state labeling laws,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based A.B.A. “With bakers within days of making costly decisions on how to comply with Vermont’s labeling requirement, the failure of today’s vote leaves them in dire need of a national standard.”
The cloture vote sought to advance the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions bill introduced by Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas. While 48 senators voted in favor of cloture, 49 voted to deny it. To secure cloture and advance the bill to a final vote, the measure would have required the support of 60 senators. The bill would have established a voluntary bioengineered food labeling standard and would have prevented states and other levels of government from establishing mandatory bioengineered food labeling requirements that were different from the national voluntary standard. Vermont’s mandatory bioengineered food labeling bill is scheduled to take effect July. 1.
“We thank Senator Joe Donnelly (of Indiana) for his efforts to find middle ground on this important issue and hope that chairman Roberts and ranking member (Debbie) Stabenow will stay at the negotiating table and continue working toward a voluntary labeling agreement that guarantees that bakers can deliver the transparency the public is seeking without the stigmatization of a mandatory warning label,” Mr. MacKie said.Senator Donnelly was one of three Democrats to vote for cloture. Senator Stabenow is from Michigan.