The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives today applauds Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts for his proposal to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for bioengineered foods, and for other purposes.

Vermont’s mandatory law requiring on-package labels of foods containing biotech-derived ingredients takes effect in July, and unless Congress acts swiftly, families, farmers and their cooperatives will face chaos in the market and higher costs. Multiple studies have shown that the associated costs with Vermont’s GMO-labeling law and a subsequent patchwork of state laws will cost American families hundreds of dollars more in groceries each year – hitting low-income Americans the hardest.

“We are out of time, and Congress needs to quickly take action on a uniform, national standard for labeling foods containing GMO ingredients. Chairman Roberts’ proposal is a welcome and encouraging event for farmer co-ops and their producer-owners who otherwise will be forced to alter their production methods and segregate their supply chains in order to comply with Vermont’s labeling mandate,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner. “I would like to thank Chairman Roberts for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with him to ensure legislation is approved by Congress as soon as possible.”

The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark-up the proposal at 10:00 a.m. next Thursday, February 25.