Senate to vote on GMO labeling bill Wednesday

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GMO tomatoU.S. Senate leadership has scheduled a vote next Wednesday on ending debate on the GMO labeling bill. The cloture vote is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, according to the Senate schedule. The bill needs 60 votes for approval to end debate and head for final passage, before moving to the House of Representatives. The vote was scheduled just a day after the Food and Drug Administration sent technical comments to Congress that were critical of the legislation. The comments come as an FDA spokesperson told The Hagstrom Report this week that the FDA “has not taken a position on the bill.” The comments by the FDA say the bill would give USDA labeling authority in an area that is usually reserved for the FDA, and that FDA has long held that foods developed with genetic engineering are safe and do not require labeling. Coauthor and Ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow replied saying the agreement places implementation with USDA because “this is not a food safety or human health issue.” A spokesperson for Committee Chairman Pat Roberts called the FDA comments “odd and misplaced.”