WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) — Consumers in the United States are put at a disadvantage by the genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling bill passed by the US Senate and pending approval in the House of Representatives, US Senator Jon Tester told Sputnik on Wednesday.
"I think it is a denial of the consumer’s right to know," Tester said of the GMO law, which he voted against.
Under the legislation, the US federal government would establish national standards on labeling genetically modified foods. The labeling standards will give food manufacturers options to indirectly label GMO products using a QR code or toll free number.
However, the bill’s narrow definition of genetically modified or bioengineered crops may allow a major portion of GMO products already on the market not to carry a label, according to watchdog groups. Products containing genetically modified meat will also be exempted, if meat is not the primary ingredient.
Tester, who worked as a farmer in the state of Montana before he was elected to the Senate, has argued that consumers should be able to make decisions based on knowledge of whether their food was developed in a laboratory.
The senator noted that the current GMO labeling bill short-changes US consumers.
Moreover, if the House of Representatives passes the bill when it comes up for a vote later this week, it will "override" current and possibly future state laws requiring tough GMO labeling standards, Tester added.