Efforts by U.S. Senate Republicans to stop mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods hit a roadblock. The procedural vote Wednesday in the U.S. Senate to advance legislation that would have banned states from requiring labeling of GMO foods failed 48-49. Beginning July 1, Vermont will require such labeling. Other states are set to follow. Daryl Cates, chairman of the Illinois Soybean Growers Association, said individual state labeling laws will change how Illinois farmers plant their crops, and will become an expensive endeavor. “We just can’t afford to have each state have their own labeling laws,” Cates said. “It definitely needs to be a nationwide labeling.” Cates adds that mandatory labeling of GMO’s would create havoc for farmers and the food industry.
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“This could be a nightmare for food companies to have separate labels for each state,” Cates said. “Even for interstate commerce, they might not be able to take food in because of that issue.” Cates said he and members of the Illinois Soybean Growers Association will work together to encourage members of the Senate to support voluntary labeling standards. “Go back to the drawing table, try and come back and see if we can’t come up with another solution somehow,” Cates said. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis, who voted in support of a similar house bill to stop mandatory labeling last summer, was disappointed Senate Democrats blocked the legislation this week. He agreed that individual state laws like Vermont’s will be a logistical nightmare for interstate commerce and potentially lead to higher costs for consumers.