Progressive Grocer Independent

APR 2016

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April 2016 | Defining the Independent Market | 37 "We believe that a uniform [GMO-labeling] standard that pre-empts state labeling laws strikes the right legislative balance to provide consumers with access to information that is consistent and transparent." —Peter Larkin, NGA working on the issue; however, in March, the Senate failed to invoke cloture for a bill that would create national labeling rules to pre-empt a patchwork system of state laws. Clo- ture is intended to prevent flibuster- ing; but the bill does live on. "We believe that a uniform standard that pre-empts state label- ing laws strikes the right legislative balance to provide consumers with access to information that is con- sistent and transparent," said NGA President and CEO Peter Larkin at the time. "While we are disappointed that the Senate was unable to invoke cloture on this important bill, we will continue to look to a path forward for a solution." While GMO labeling largely afects CPG companies, retailers need to be aware of it, too, especially if they have private label items, and to make sure there aren't supply chain interruptions or to address cus- tomer questions. A federal law would set a standard to allow retailers to serve all custom- ers: those who want only non-GMO food and those who don't care, Ferrara says. "We want a system that is set up like the USDA organic system, which is one platform controlled by the USDA," he notes. Currently, it's a bit of a free-for-all, as states have diferent standards. FMI also cautions that without a federal standard, consumers could see higher prices as manufacturers struggle to meet labeling demands in each separate state. Minneapolis- based General Mills recently announced that it would start labeling its products to disclose whether they contain GMOs, but FMI indicates that some companies have run into issues on packaging created to meet Vermont's laws that have not been in alignment with other states' requirements. Food-labeling regulations may change, but what isn't changing is that consumers are becoming more interested in what they're eating, and they're demanding more nutritional information from their local grocers, so grocers need to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible. PGI

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