tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 13, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
a series of distribution networks. the product is shipped into the retail network and finally to the consumer's shelf. so the right to know the choice is very important. that's why a clear national standard is so critical to the manufacturing community. >> the same thing on the labeling. if you have -- i don't think
we'll have 50 different labeling requirements but two or three states, then shat shows we need a national standard. >> right, the level of complexity with that type of labeling would be an incalculable burden on manufacturing. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate it. >> time has expired on the floor votes so we'll come back as soon as we vote. there are two votes. and the committee stands in recess for the floor vote. >> the time of reassess having expired, we'll continue with the questions and at this point the chair recognizes the gentleman from kentucky, mr. whitfield. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to thank all of the witnesses for joining us today on this very important subject. as a matter of fact, i walked
out of this hearing to go back to my office before i went to a floor for the vote, and there were a group of seven people in there wanted to talk about this bill. so somebody is really organized today. but it is an important issue, and mr. offthe, i'd like to just ask for your comments. fda has made it clear there are current consultation process is rigorous, involves a number of experts well-versed in methods, and is entirely, to use their words, entirely sufficient for purposes of reviewing the safety of these products. and so if the fda is perfectly comfortable in the process, feels it adequately protects pre public for food safety, why are you arguing for new legal authority that fda did not believe it even needs?
>> thank you very much for the question. i agree with you that fda is clearly the agency in the government with the expertise on food safety, and if there's any anything that should be deciding the set of gmo crops they should be fda and i believe they have the expertise. so i agree with you and they're using that in this consultation process but i think the process works only because of the good nature of the companies that are coming forward with the genetically engineered seeds. they're not required by law to do that. while there are lots of incentives for companies that are based in the united states to do that, that may not be the case for imported foods from other countries. so i can give you an example of china, which is now spending $300 million a year doing research on jeanette click en -- genetically engineer crops and
may grow a rice variety and that may get turn into different food products imported into the united states. those companies may not think of the voluntary process as mandatory. and fda may not know about those because they weren't home-grown products that started with research trials in a company or university here in the united states. so usda may not be aware of those. so fda need the teals to do it with the imports coming into the country. they need the authority to make sure that something is overseen. >> your primary concern is on imports. >> and also on the experts. i do a lot of work in developing countries and around the world, and we do a lot of exports of our genetically engineered crops and those countries can't look to the fda decision. there's no opinion from the fda these are safe. so those countries, which many our exerters from the u.s. would like to say to those countries,
please defer to fda, and a lot of other countryies do that, but because in this case there's no approval think can't do that. >> their own process, so i hurts or exports and imports. >> mr. goodings, do you get the sense you have an opinion about this is a well. tell me what you think about it. >> mr. whitfield, mr. jackey and i have been friends for three decades and it gives me pain to have to disagree withhim but virtually everything he has mistaken. we need to remember that fda has absolute authority to require that all food placed on the market in the united states be safe. that's all the authority they need. it doesn't matter what process is used. if it's food on the market, fda has the authority to ensure that it is safe. the other thing to remember is that this category of gmos or gn food is gays owned a def notwithstanding that is at odd as the facts as we fine them.
this is an artificial category. there is no meaningful basis distinguish genetically modified organisms from others than others because agency on earth is genetically modified. there's no correlation between the products of the most modern plant breeding technologies in any hazard or food safety risks. these things have an unblemished safety record. we know what causes safety problems in the in the consumption of food and it's primarily the presence of pathogens. the only -- these reduce the potential for path -- pathow general nick infestation so how this is a category that is meaningful relevant to risk assessment or safety is contradicted by the facts, data, and vast experience. show to fda is correct. there are no data. there's no experience which assaults they need additional
authorities or there's a problem here in need of fixing. >> do you have a community you'd like to make on this? >> well, i'm obviously not qualified to talk about -- >> i'm sorry. >> i'm obviously not qualified to talk about the regulatory process, but the american farmer does trust the regulatory process. they believe that these products are safe. and they do need a regulatory process that delivers products to farmers in a timely mandatory deal with the issues in the future. >> you know, to the attorney general of vermont, i'm certainly not an expert in food safety, i buy a lot of food, though. anytime you go to a store and you see an label, this contains such and such, or this may contain such and such, it almost seems like it's a warning label, and just without giving a lot of stock to this, and i'm looking -- that's why we enjoy these hearings, without giving a lot of thought to it, i think
that's one of the primary concerns i would have about the vermont law. it almost looks like it's a warning label, and i'm not aware of any scientific evidence that there's any safety issue involved truthfully. would you want to make a comment on that? >> certainly, congressman. and thank you for the question. it's an important distinction to make with regard to the disclosure vermont's law requires. fundamentally, the placement of that disclosure and the size and the font and things like that, in looking at the issue of how consumers are interested in this information and how they can best access the information, the attorney general's office intentionally chose to make the disclosure either their choices for industry, the same size as the serving size disclosure hope to nutrition facts panel on the back that the fda already requires, or the ingredients listing there. the goal being to say, it's got to be easily spread easily
found. those are the standards. it's not a clear and conspicuous warning. it's a simple statement of fact that if a consumer is interested in finding the information, they can look for it, read it, and make a choice accordingly. >> mr. chairman, the. >> you recognize the ranking member. five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as i said in my opening statement i don't think genetically engineered foods pose special safety or environmental rhyss or different from nong foods therefore doesn't seem to make sense to require them to be labeled. at the same time, unless there's some harm created by allowing vermont to impose mandatory ge labeling i don't think we in congress ooh tell vermonters what to do, and i'm hoping the panelists can help me figure this out. one issue i've heard it that requiring ge foods to have a special label would be inherently misleading because it would indicate that it there was
something different about the foods. so let me ask their jaffe, i know cspi asia strong supporter of strong food labelings. what are their views on that question? >> thank you for that question. cspi has been a strong proponent of labeling as something very informative to consumers and important. but the labeling has to be truthful, neutral, and nonmisleading. that's critical. we have also been strong believers that the -- only the most important information should be map -- mandated by the government. safety information, whether something is an an allergien, or nutritional information, how much salt or calories are in it because that has a direct relationship to their diet. as you said, genetically engineered foods -- the current ones are safe, and so there's no safety or nutritional reasons to label those.
so while we support the idea there should be transparency and consumers who want to find that information about where their food comes from, should be allowed to do that. i guess our view is that in terms of government mandates, when the government mandates labeling, those should be left for most critical pieces of information. if we mandate everything on a label, the consumers don't know what is the most critical information. so, for us, the things that are most critical are either safety information or nutritional information. this doesn't qualify there. so, while we think that we understand the consumers want information about this, we think that there should be ways to figure that out less than mandatory government-imposed labels. >> let me ask, why you don't think ge labeling is inherently misleading? one of my colleagues on the republican side said, you see the label ex-you're just going to say, obvious live this is different, or maybe this is bad, even though it doesn't say that. why don't you think that the ge
labeling is inherently misleading? >> thank you for the question. there are two answers to that, and i'll start with one that came along very recently. it's important to remember that hr1599 is not the only challenge that act 120 faces. grosser manufacturerring association and other trade groups have sued the state of vermont tone joy the law and it's important for this body to remember that there is a bound on what vermont can do in terms of misleading labels -- >> i know i'm intenting you because i want to ask another thing. i wt to know why it's not misleading. you got to tell me that. >> well, -- >> if haven't decided what to do here. okay? >> to cut myself shorter, the federal court just ruled it wasn't misleading, it was in fact a straightforwardactual disclosure. ruled is a strong word but agreed with vermont's position
and indicate that's how the court was looking at it. that's the fundamental piece of act 120, it's a factual disclosure before a process involved in making the product. >> i only have a minute. my other main question is whether it imo's undo burden on industry. we don't have much time. i understand that neither of you support mandatory labeling. however, why would putting a statement such as, produced with ge ingredients, just that, on the label, require need to create new supply chain lines or distribution lines? what problems do you foresee with the inclusion of just small statement like that doesn't say it's good or bad or anything, just produced with ge ingreedent inside. >> i think it fits a clear national standard. manufacturers can deal with it. i if we hat melt pel states with different labeling requirements it would be an enormous burden to make sure they got it right.
manufacturers secure their supply chains are and are concerned securing the ingredients up to the point of consumption in particular this issues that manufacturers fine themselves liable for a product that is outside of their control. that's one aspect. but they -- >> sound is like you're saying you wouldn't have a problem with the label. >> to there clearly is a problem for multiple labeling directions from many def -- >> what there if was just one national standard, produced with gm ingredients. >> if there's a clear national standard that minimizes the risk in that. they would have an easier time dealing with that type of law verse many different states imposing requirements on them. >> think the american farmers demonstrated they can produce very safe and abundant and inexpensive food, and there's a demand for nongmo foods our farmers will respond weapon
don't want consume's to have to pay burdensome costs to a supply change management program if they're not interested in purchasing nongmo. what this act does is give us a pathway, if a farmer -- i can decide if i want to grow gmo crops or nongmo crops, there's a smarted to give consumers not only the right to know but a right to choose products. and i think that's what is powerful about this legislation. >> chair thanks the gentleman and now recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. shimkus, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to my friend, my question is to follow up on yours in two points. one is, the country feeds the world. united states, we feed the world, and i would argue, being from illinois, and i'm glad john is here, and emand the midwest
is a predominant producer of base commodity products that go around the world. so, john, these two questions are for you. first of all, last couple of years we had a pretty big drought. had we had that drought a decade ago, or two decades ago, what would have been the result and how -- what made our ability to withstand the drought survivable? >> well, droughts for farmers are years that burn themselves into your memory. in 1993 -- i can go through the list. i tell people, the drought of 2012 was different because even though we didn't have good rainfall and because we had very high temperatures, we still had ream yields across the corn belt, and it makes sense. i of you can protect a plant from damage to the root system, if you can protect the plant from damage too the stems.
protect from weeds, then it can maximize the use of the water that is available. >> how do you do that? >> with biotechnology. biotechnology is the best solution for those problem is just talked about. by far. safest, most efficient way for me to get those kinds of rules is i by using biotechnology. >> not just to in the united states but as we assist other countries around the world, feed themselves, it is through the great aspect of science has allowed us to do this, and it's -- unfortunately it's an untold story in this debate because without it, and the population growth, and the climate changes, we could be in a disastrous position. let me go to the next question. talks about an individual producer elm the producer sometimes gets lost in the debate. so, if you -- okay. so, we have now just bifurcated system of labeling and not
labeling, and a supply chain. tell me how a corn or bean farmer in central illinois, who's planting 750 to 1 thon walk kerr, whats would you have to do? >> what i would have to do -- >> to produce two sets of corn going for the same product, one gmo, one non-g.o.p. >> basically start with the selection of the seed. buy different kind of seed. have to make sure that we keep the integrity of the seat, only is planted in the fieldment. >> you have to stop the wind. >> stop and clean planters out. make sure the right product is incorporated into the field. >> different silos. >> have to have -- >> different trucks. >> the trucks and the harvesting equipment has to be clean. >> when i went to the food processing facility would they have to have dissilos. >> absolutely. >> whole --
>> special elevators where we deliver grain, special handling equipment designed to be handled that equipment and keep it segregated. >> i know that corn now is sold around the world, and i was kind of surprised that -- sometimes they're in containers. i always think they'd be the a big hull, and you just pour all the corn in. what if it pulls up to a port and they do a sample, and of the billions of kernels they find one that is either/or. then what happens? >> then that company -- country or company that finds that kernel will decide whether they want that shipment of corn or not. >> in they're favor -- >> they could decide to ticket or -- 0 to reject it. >> this is a debate we're having, and i think we need to tread very carefully. i want to thank my colleague for taking the leadership on this help has the wheat story to tell, i'm sure, which is very
similar to a corn or a bean story, and we haven't even talked about segwaying into the livestock issue and feed issue and multiple other derivations that this -- so that's why i'm a cosponsor and look forward to looking with him as he moves forward. i yield back. thank you. >> now recognize the gentle lady from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing. i think each of our witnesses for your testimony. i firmly believe that consumers have the right to make informed decisions bottoms the food they east. i home this is a point on which we up can agree, and i think there's general agreement that a good federal standard for ge labeling is preferable to a confusing patchwork of state labeling rules. bus there's an agreement what the standard too be and i'm not constanced hr1599 will assure consumer they'd have reliable and clear information they're looking for. dr. jaffe, do you think this
bill needs consumer demands for clear, consistent labeling of ge products? >> so, i think we don't have a good idea what consumer demands really are. there are a number on polls and you ask, due you want ge labeling, most consumers say yes. could do you want palestine palestine label inside they zayat. antibioticsland sunset they say yes. as a consumer, if somebody offered me information, why say more that. but there was a rutgers poll where they asked what information would you want 0 on the label, and 7% said gm labeling, and you asked people about -- everybody said 70% for each of those. i i'm not coin veined there's an overwhelming number of consumers and most of the polls show -- the rutgers poll, a good independent poll, and i'm happy to submit that to the committee.
>> that would be great. >> two-thirds of the consumers have not had a discussion about this and don't know about it. so providing information without knowledge about what that information means can inherently be misleading. >> could you provide for us in your -- within your purview, the difference between organic, nongmo, and natural food products? how do these type of products disfrom one another, just to set the record here. >> an organic product, there's a definition the usda has a definition. if you follow that definition you can call your food organic in the united states, and those have certain and rules that have to be followed. not based on science. based on, did you follow the rule. >> right. okay. that's clear. then. nongmo, is that -- >> accurately flows definition of what nongmo is; so there are private certifiers and other companies that happen come up
with their own and countries that call noncome's -- sometimes they use a one percent threshold or sometimes 0.9% thresholds. so that is not uniform. >> i understand. consumers, however -- we all agree, should not be confused about something as basic and fundamental at the food they eat and consumers should be able to trust that they labeling on the food is accurate and truthful, and fda currently has policy of self-regulation. producers have the option to voluntarily label if the ge foods. however, 15 years after the implement addition of this policy very few products on the market have been labeled as being genetically engineered, yet we all know there's a great number of ge foods on the market. consumers want to know if their food is ge and are calling on policymakers to help make this information more accessible. that's why we're look carefully at vermont's law because it's a
reflection of consumer demand. you -- quote produced with genetic engineering and foods labeled as, quote, partially produced with genetic engineering. what's the difference? >> this is part of the flexibility the vermont law has it in. if a product contains less than 70% ge material by weight, then a producer can choose to use the statement, partially produced. otherwise, the standard statement is produced with genetic engineering on any product. >> i submit that we need to make sure that labels are clear and informative for consumers, and hr1599 falls short of the standard. i hope we can work together to find the right balance that works for both consumers as vermont has done, or is doing, and industry as well, and i -- with that yield back the balance. thank you, mr. chairman. >> chair thanks the gentle lady
and now recognizes the gentleman from indiana, five minutes for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i i support he consumers' right to know what's in their food products but also think it should be based on science, and i support congressman's legislation. i know it's been said but i want to reiterate for the record some quotes from organizations around the world, really, talking about gmo. american medical association, our ama recognizes there is no evidence that unique hazards exist either in the use of ge techniques or the movement of genes between unrelated organisms. bioengineering foods have been consumed for close 2020 years and no avert consequences on human health have been report or substantiated in peer reviewed literature. national academy of science. genetic engineer is one of the newer technologies available to produce desired traits in plants and animals used for food but
poses no health risk that cannot also awry from breeding or other methods used to create new foods. they go ton say: analysis of the u.s. experience with dieng net include engineered crop shows they offer substantial net environmental benefits compared to conventional crops. ge crops have fewer adverse effects on the environment. and the w.h.o., gm foods currently available on the international market have passed risk assessment and are not likely to present risks for human health, in addition forks affect on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general poll layings in the countries -- population in the countries where they have been approved. so that said, as a medical doctor, i have -- was charged with advising patients on therapy. therapy that works, therapy that doesn't work. and of course, based on the
internet and other sources there's all kinds of proposed therapies for cancer and heart disease out there that have been unsubstantiated that patients frequently ask me about. and so i guess my question to everyone is, on the balance, should people like elected officials, other people who are in charge of informing the public, -- should be buy into what is, i see, a movement without really substantiated reason to be there in the first place, or, for example, me, buy into a treatment that is not proven to be effective, or should i lead and should i say to my patients or to the general public, what the facts are and not buy into unsubstantiated claims, and what i see honestly is really for the most part a
political and economic movement. political because of misinformation, and economic because of companies that want their product to be labeled nongmo so they can compete with everybody else. so, i'll start at the end and just comment on what your thoughts should we buy in or inform the public and stand up to what is clearly misinformation? >> as a consumer i believe we should inform the public, as you say, and i think that everyone here believes there's a right to know and that choice is very much important here. we care about consumer choices, but we also want to understand the implications on the industry what demand we'll place on industry and whether it's effective as well. in this case we don't think so. >> i think there's a challenge here, and that is that to disable consumers from accessing information that they're interested in having, suggests
that the government has a role in controlling information -- >> i'm going interrupt just briefly. as a medical doctor shy promote a therapy i know not be effective because the internet says it is? >> i respect the example. what i would say is there's promotion going on in vermont's law. >> there will be because people have a misperception that gmo, some way, is infear you're to non-come gmo product. just taking the devil's advocate position here. >> i understand. what consumers do with that information and why they want the information is not necessarily the role that vermont's legislature chose to take. what vermont's legislature chose to do after hearing a lot of testimony and really looking at different sides of the issue, was to say, we're going to provide this information to consumers. it's accurate, it's complete, and we're going to let them do what they want. >> fair enough. i want to get the other three in my last 25 seconds here.
>> i believe congress' responsibility is to assure that american consumers have an accurate, fair, and nonmisleading system for labeling foods. >> i think it's congress' role, it's the cspi's role to approved the facts. the current crops engineered are safe but i think generally this is a safe technology, but you have to look at each police on a case-by-case basis. >> congressman, it is important to recognize that vermont act 120 and other similar legislation is a direct consequence of attempts to mislead consumers as to the safety of foods derived from food and crop from biotechnology. i'd read that law multiple times and the record is clear they put forth verifiably fault claimed about the safety of the food, and while the state of vermont does not intend to mislead consumer, the folks that push
hem into adopting this legislation and are leading the campaign have very different motives, and let me give example of a -- >> my time is expired. can you submit the rest of your response. >> it's in any written remark. i toshers very briefly -- to summary briefly, the intention of the folks pushing the mandates for information on labeling is directly to mislead consumers as to their safety, as a means of growing their market share. >> i yield back. >> chair now recognizes the gentleman, mr. butterfield, five minutes for your questions. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, before getting started irwould ask unanimous consent to have two letters inserted into the record. the first one addressed to members of the house, and dated april 28. signed by nearly 400 stakeholders, including the national federation of farm bureaus and the state farm bureaus from alaska to florida. it is worth noting the vermont farm bureau is one of the signers.
the letter expresses the support of the 400 signers for hr1599. i offer this letter. >> without objection so or thed. >> the second one addressed to mr. pompeo and me and dated april 16, 2015, is from 29 biotechnology industry stakeholdded and state biotech associationment, including the north carolina biosigns organization and the new jersey association,he let expressions again support for 1599. i offer this letter. >> without objection so ordered. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i apologize for being in and out but we're multitasking today and i think you forward that. thank you for being here today and lending this committee your expertise in supply chain management. if have come to understand how the food supply change ain't interact kid web that starts with seed development and ends up on the consumer's plate.
it's easy to appreciate why upending manufacturing processes would cause significant disruption to the supply chain, ultimately will result in consumers actually paying more for the same food that they buy today. number one, considering that you have spent the last 15 years as a supply chain logistics expert to you believe a federal labeling standard is in the best interests of both american consumers and our nation's food producers? >> yes, i do. >> that's not ambiguous. all right. thank you. i understand that there are concerns that the cost to comply with the vermont law could exceed food company sale's revenue for products sold in vermont. if companies decide to no longer sell productness vermont or any other state that has state mandates because it's too costly for them to comply, it is the consumer, not the company, that loses. that's my logic would you agree? >> i do. and is a mentioned in my
statement the grocery manufacturers are very high-volume, low-margin and do everything they can to keep very efficient and effective manufacturing operations and distribution operations up in the time the consumer consumes the product. securing the supply chain is important and they everything they can to make it i as efficient as possible sew we can pass on the savings. >> what are the practical impacts of disstate by state man date and why is the national standard in the best interests for consumers. >> it would literally mean manufacturing lines would have to stop and start and stop and start over and over again to change labeling, change packaging, create separate inventer toes of the same product, essentially, and ensure that they're segregated so they can end up in the right state that would complicate thinks in the manufacturing sector but also in the inventory management sector because we have to make sure the inventories are segregated and tracked as best as possible to ensure they in
the right state. very difficult to do that throughout the entire supply chain, and in particular, the fact that the manufacturers have control of only so much of that supply chain. they turn it over to retailers and wholesalers who redistribute that product to stores. >> now to the other end of the table, thank you for coming. at the december 2014 hearing one witness said that some food companies label their foods a, quote-unquote, natural, even though it contains genetically engineered ingredients. he said some consumers thought that was intentionally misleading because they believed exactly the opposite, that jeanette click engineering is -- genetic engineering is not natural. white natural is not defined the original version of 1599 would have required fda to do show. amendment in the nature of a substitute before us today, though, does not. would you please share you views on the use of the tomorrow
"natural"? >> this is something that rabbis and jesuits could use years discussing. this much i can tell you. it's not clear to me what the term "natural" means when used in food because everything that we eat has been modified from the form it took before humans started to cultivate and care for livestock and so forth. so, it's all been changed, even wild fish stocks. we have selected over generations and changed their general net tick makeup. this much i can tell you. foods die fastfood from crops gmo -- the term gmo has been defined as something modified in a way that does occur in nice tour but in the process of genetic engineering we scientist learned how to do these things by observing these phenomena of change happening in nature. these phenomena are widespread,
they're found throughout the living world. the techniques that genetic engineer use in the lab to make these kind of specific and directed changes with the degree of precision that is unprecedented in the history of humanity, these changes are all changes that we learned how to do by seeing it happen in nature. we use enzyme wet take from nature to make these things happen. itch this is not a natural process, have no idea what a natural process -- >> thank you, mr. diddings. you believe we need a definition for natural would that be helpful? >> if you could come up with a definition i would be helpful but i'm not sure it's possible. >> thank you. yield back. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. collins. five minutes. >> it's a great hearing. i appreciate the witnesses' comments and certainly i'm a big supporter of mr. pompeo's bill. as we move into an area i like to equate toy hydrofracking. the scare tactics, the disinformation, the misinformation, the outright
lies surrounding the safety of hydrofracking, took on a life of their own for several years to the point new york state banned hydrofracking, and lo lo and bed the epa came out wife a constitute that hydrofracking when done properly is absolutely safe and does not impose any risks on groundwater contamination. but for two years people were on the internet showing tap water coming out of the taps with -- putting a lighter to and it starting it on fire, and scaring the public that, my god, if there's hydrofracking you'll be drinking contaminated water. i compare that very similar to where we are today on this gmo debate. the opponented have gotten out and front and said gmo equal bad. gmo equal dangerous. and so now people are at a point
where if they put anything to do with gmos on their label, the average consumer, from misinformation and disinformation, is going to say i don't want to buy that. well, that's a tragedy for america, for the american consumer, and just is the facts of the life we live in. also, the other issue i know is problematic is if every state creates their only labeling standard, every counsel and every county of all 62 counties in new york create their own labeling standard, the types of cost passed on to consumers would be mind boggling. we have a cheerios plant just outside of my district, and if every box of cheer -- cheerios you had to create a thousand different boxes because every city, town, every state in america, decided to willy-nilly pass their own laws, you would bent able to afford a box of cheerios. in frankly, as supply and demand
chain goes for a very small state, very few consumers, they just stop selling in that's stat. vermont can do what they want but somebody might say, based on the cost of preserving a very small market we'll no longer sell our product in that market. that's what consumers need to be worried about. so, i am just very happy that the fda would be -- we're asking them to do a study on the safety, like we asked the epa to do a study on the safety of hydrofracking, and it came back safe, and i'm confident the same study will show that to be the case for gomes. -- gmos, and i do think congress has a role to play. if there's abling we need to cut out the states from willy-nilly putting out a thousand different sets of regulations. this is a small government local decisionmaking guy, but this is a place for the federal government to step forward. but an observation and question.
cornell university just began outside my district did a study and the study was, what would be the cost -- certainly an estimate but they did an actual database study -- to the average consumer in america where these willy-nilly labeling by state, town, county, village, go forward and it was $500. they connect the average family would pay an additional $500 a year just for these labels on boxes. and $500 is a significant dent for getting nothing more than an extra -- the cost on the producers, and i just wondered, have you seen similar studies? does that make sense? let's be honest with the consumers. you want to pay an extra 500 bucks a year. >> i have heard about the study and i think it would have increased depend only the number 0 states and the number of products magnified biosocial
labeling laws. the extra time and inventory would be quite substantial when you think about all the manufacturers of food products and all the labels that could be on the products. >> do you also agree there's a risk that if a city, town, village, state, especially a small one, decided to pass a labeling law there would be a fair chance that the supply klain would just simply stop providing that product into that market? >> it's possible. comes down whether you can make product have a healthy margin -- >> you'll look at your costs, look at your return and say, sorry, just not going to sell into it that market anymore? >> that's what america is all about. whochoice and competition. thank you for your comments and i look forward a study showing that gmos are safe, and with that i yield back. >> chair thanks the gentleman. we are voting on the floor, just started so we have 14 minutes
left. we'll go for a while and then have to recess and come back if there's still questions that have not been answered. or asked. so, at this point, the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, five minutes. >> thank you, measure chairman. questions for mr. jaffe. what is the purpose of fda labeling? what is the statutory requirement? why do we label food? >> so that the consumers have truthful, nonmisleading information about material issues that are important. >> that would be my understanding also. i'm not an expert on the science behind food labeling but that is my understanding. >> actually goes more specific. talk busy nutrition, and the goal is health and safety of the american consumers. there's -- i have been listening closely to the discussion. a lot of this seems like i would
say our bill covers a lot of the concerns we are talking about here, which is truth and honesty in labeling, and i think everyone has responded to the chairman and other people's questions that there is currently no evidence that the genetically modified or genetically engineered crop wes have today cause health and safety problems. our bill provides for, should they do that in the future, they would have to be labeled. this takes into account the fact we don't know. maybe at some point there could be a problem and fda could regulate that. i think that's a good thing. think we would agree with that at the end of the day. the bill also people for the right to know folks in my state we had a big discussion about genetically modified organisms and ge labeling and provide ford the right to know. provides a mandatory labeling if you're going to claim your
product is nongmo. i think that's important. people need to know. then there's a process by which the fda and the secretary can establish that. that is good. that allows the consumer to know exactly what he or she is getting. to the discussion on natural, there's section here, i a goings to be tough to define natural. as an organic farmer, with all due respect, just talking about this partialie produced. 70% is like being half pregnant either organic farmer or consumer, is it organic or not? and right now, i think it's porn for members of the committee and citizens in our country to know we already have a bioengineer can label to some degree, it's called organic. ...
defines what genetically engineered substance is. there is nothing out there. there is hystera and the side that everything has been modified over time. for the consumer having a problem with something being done in-vitro which i say is safer where you get side effects and can't control them like you can with splicing the organisms. but those people are concerned.
this gives the producer certainty as to what genetically engineered actually means. it has been clearly stated that a patch work of regulatory framework mean this or that when we have food and produce that not only goes across county lines but state lines and now international lines. i think some sort of national standard is crystal clear and needed. this allows for those concerned about ge from a political or philosophical standpoint to get that stuff labelled in time. i think this bill is a great piece of legislation and doesn't overlegislature but low as american farmers and food manufactu manufacturers to produce the healthiest and safest food in the world with reduce tillage,
yield and pesticide, many of the things people against genetically engineered organisms are for at the end of the day. >> now recognize the gentlemen from virginia mr. griffin for five minutes. >> thank you. i will try to be quick. you indicated in one of the answers earlier that you didn't, correct me i get it wrong, you didn't see any concerns about allergens with foods out out there but you were concerned about the future. can you give me information if i got that correct? >> yes, that is correct. >> can you get me information about the concerns of the father of the 9-year-old with a lot of food allergies? >> sure. >> and also, industry is
concerned about this. do you all have -- does vermont's law block private right affaction of manufactures and suppliers? i am not knowing to ask you to answer now but submit it. if the answer is no, what do you do when the person who manufactured didn't intend for it to end up in vermont but it ened up on the shelves. thank you, gentlemen. with that, mr. gentlemen, i yield back. >> recognize mr. sarbin for five minutes. >> i want to thank the panel. thank you for your testimony. i confess my head is exploding
trying to balance of the different concerns. i am still absorbing a lot of the information related to. there is a system where the fda thinks things are going because they issued this letter. but you don't thing that is enough judgment being rendered by the fda with respect to the item that is subject to the letter. can you just elaborate on why you feel a more pro-active statement, or judgment or opinion, on part of the fda would make sense in the context of the proposal. >> sure. thank you very much for that question. the fda letter at the end of the consultation says and i am
parapraising the fda has no further question at this time about your determination over the foods. if the developers are who you are referring to. the public says the fda is not saying it is safe. fda is saying we have to reply on monsanto's determination to see if that is safe. and i think that may not be an issue of actually safety but an issue of perception of that. the fda is not giving its opinion at all about the safety. when you look at and the congressman from oregon mentioned his state had a referendum on labeling, when you ask the consumers and almost 50% voted for those why did they vote for those they say we are not sure the foods are safe and want to avoid them. the solution is not to label at
the backend but the solution is to for the fda to confirm to consumers those foods are safe on individual case-by-case basis for each individual product. i think that is what every other country in the world does in this area. what is ironic about it is in the united states, the usda, you can't plant one of these crops without the usda saying they safe but we can eat the foods without this? that is a policy of using old laws and fitting a new technology into that >> i appreciate that. my sense is you could believe that having that new standard and how you would feel if there was safety concerns.
i don't see why there is total departure of both on this. i am going to switch gears and try to wrap up. i garth the vermont labeing bill is one that would require the producing and manufacturer or whatever the term is here were the person putting the label here to indicate that it is partially produced by ge and a label saying may contain de is not an option or if there is no way to determine the origin. >> i think that is an important point to make. it is an option.
and producers can chose to qualify the producer with the genetic engineering with the term if after reasonable inquiry can't determine if is made with that. >> if they can determine that can not chose to say may. that is a solution to the entire problem in some way. in any event, thank you for your testimony. i will yield back. >> we are voting on the floor. we have two minutes. ms. brooks. >> i heard yesterday from the family-owned pioneer in the bio tech world in seed production who is a strong support of this bill. i yield my time to the gentlemen from kansas. >> thank you. appreciate that and appreciate you being here. you said you trust people to make their own decision.
there is nothing in this legislation that denies any food producer any ability to market their product as non-gmo as long as that is truthful and accurate. chipotle could sell you a 5,000 calorie burrito that wasn't gmo and tell you it was a good idea. this is what i want to get out. you suggested hr-1599 denies anyone the right to know anything. but it doesn't. and can you tell me where in the bill you would see it prevents someone from doing that? >> my understanding is a portion
of title one suggests that it would be misbranding if a product were labelled without following some of the procedures laid out in title two. i think it is 291-b and c. and my understanding of those is at the point in time, hr-1599 took affect there were no state laws that could exist and up to a year possibly longer which means at the point hr-1599 it would be a roll back. >> they wanted to market the products and there is no denial of someone knowing. someone who wants to only eat
non-gmo ice cream can do it today and can do it when this passes. i will look forward to that. has this ever passed by referendum? when it has been put to the people have they proved? >> not to my knowledge. >> right. every time it has been on the ballot it has been struck down. i appreciate your counsel through this. you have been reasonable and rational and thoughtful. i appreciate that. i am trying to work with you to get a little bit better and appreciate that. but you said seven percent of
the people. i don't know how many it. in 7% of the people continued to eat all non-gmo food if they chose and only purchase products that contain the label that reflected and pay the premium that is required. is that correct? >> yes, i do think it is important for foods labelled non-gmo there is a federal standard for that. right now they are not getting what they are paying for necessarily. there is no need for a consumer to want to purchase non-gmo food but there are consumers that want to do that and i think you need a federal standard for setting what it means. >> i want to clean up one thing. you kind of gave an answer i want to make sure you had right. when the fda came to testify, he said the fda was confidant fends into the marketplace were safe.
i asked representative kate web, majority leader if she agreed and she did. i assume you do? >> i do. >> thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. >> we will have questions in writing we will submit to you. we ask that you please respond. i remind members they have ten business days to submit the questions for the record. that means they should submit the questions by the close of business on thursday july 2nd. very good hearing. very important hearing. thank you for your testimony and your expertise without objection the subcommittee hearing is a o adjourned. >> the house and senate are out of session until september,
tuesday 8th, both are expected to take up the nuclear deal with iran and they will note on nominees on the first day back. when the senate returns, live coverage here on c-span2. congress is in recess for it summer district work period. and all month we are bringing you booktv in prime time. tonight after words interviews on books about the white house. chuck todd on his book "the stranger: barack obama in the white house" is next. and then white house correspo correspondent april ryan discusss her book "the presidency in black and white: my up-close view of three presidents and race in america" and then we will hear from ralph nader on this book out about domestic foreign