Tester: Keep GMO labeling out of omnibus

by Jenny Hopkinson

Sen. Jon Tester urged lawmakers this afternoon to reject efforts to amend an omnibus spending bill with a rider that would to preempt state GMO labeling laws, arguing that Congress should not get in the way of state efforts to promote transparency in the food system.

“The bottom line is this is bad policy,” Tester said in a speech on the Senate floor. “Consumers are smart. They pay attention to what they eat, and if you give them the ability to choose … they will make the right decision. And it’s their decision to make.”

Tester, who is an organic farmer from Montana, said he opposes the House bill (H.R. 1599) from Rep. Mike Pompeo that would preempt state GMO labeling laws and described the food industry’s push for an omnibus rider as “airdropping an amendment in” that has not been fully discussed by either the relevant Senate committee or the chamber as a whole.

“To put in an amendment that stops states and municipalities from requiring labeling is a step in the wrong rendition,” Tester said. “It’s not fair to consumers, and frankly it’s not fair to the folks who produce food in this country.”