US GMO labelling bill passes House of Representatives

US GMO labelling bill passes House of Representatives

This week saw new UK Prime Minister Theresa May enter number 10 – and the food sector was quick to set out its priorities for the UK's exit from the EU. In the US, the controversial federal GMO labelling act progressed through the House of Representatives. Here are the highlights from this weeks news. 

"We urge Theresa May to revert back with an evidence based robust policy to prevent childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. This would also be a major opportunity for her to demonstrate that she is being real in trying to help people who are less well off, particularly the socially deprived. Furthermore, it is a huge opportunity following Brexit for the British food industry which has led the world in reducing salt to also lead the world in preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes." - Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University in London and chairman of Action on Sugar, brands a leaked version of the UK's Childhood obesity strategy "pathetic"

"Following a period of uncertainty we are now entering a significant time for our nation following the Brexit vote... At the forefront will be a new domestic agricultural policy. This should encourage growth, innovation, productivity and profitability. Above all, we hope that Mrs Leadsom will champion British food and farming. Our industry has a great story to tell and it's an industry that is optimistic about meeting the challenges ahead." National Farmers Union president Meurig Raymond responds to the news that pro-Brexit MP Angela Leadsom will head up Defra  

"A healthy and secure food and drink industry is critical to our national community and economy. Today we set out priority actions for the new government to help bring much-needed stability and confidence back to the sector and wider UK economy. Our partnership with UK government has never been more important to keeping food prices stable, protecting UK competitiveness and securing a skilled workforce for the future." FDF's director general Ian Wright sets out his Brexit priorities

"The passage of this bill allows for both consumers and producers to move on from this fight, and benefit from a uniformed, standardised labelling law across the country. We believe this thoughtfully-crafted compromise provides consumers with the information they need, without stigmatising a safe and sustainable food technology. Its enactment will stop a potential patchwork of state labelling and providing farmers, producers, manufacturers and consumers peace of mind as they continue to enjoy America's safe and affordable foods." - American Soybean Association president Richard Wilkins welcomes the passage of US GMO labelling legislation

"If this bill becomes law, it would give food companies the option to use QR codes or 800-numbers for information that should be clearly marked on the package. That's not real transparency. It would also use a very limited definition of what a GMO is, meaning many of the GMO ingredients already being used in our food will remain unlabelled." - Food and Water Watch protest the passage of the DARK Act

"We need to find a way of making it contemporary and relevant to the modern consumer. That is one area that we will look at and that we recognise that we need to develop further... It is really looking at how we take the overall brand and make it more relevant. If you look at what we have done on Whole Earth, for example, over the last few years, that was probably a brand that people thought of as being a little old fashioned and now its market leader in the peanut butter market. Its grown this year by more than 20%. That is the sort of blue print we would expect to take with Mrs Crimble's going forward." - Patrick Cairns, CEO of Wessanen UK, details the group's plans for Mrs Crimble's

"For Raisio, it is important to expand the range of its branded products in line with consumer needs, not to produce itself all the products in the range." Raisio CEO Matti Rihko on the sale of the snack bar business Halo

"The ACCC believes both companies were using logos to claim that these products were a healthy option for school canteens to supply to children, when they were not. School canteen managers, parents and caregivers rely upon product packaging and labelling when choosing healthy snacks for children. The ACCC is currently examining consumer protection issues around ensuring that the health claims made by large businesses are accurate and will not mislead consumers." ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said after the watchdog said Unilever and Smith's had used misleading packaging

"Camel milk is closest milk to mothers' milk, it's a non allergen and suitable for those with lactose intolerance. It mimics the same properties as colostrum so it has high levels of lactoferrin and immunoglobins. Camel milk is currently recommended in the US by paediatricians and physicians to children with autism or food allergies." - Desert Farms director of operations Haytam Abdelmouttalib explains why the company is launching camel milk infant formula in the US

"[Kahn Swick & Foti] is seeking to determine whether this consideration and the process that led to it are adequate, or whether the consideration undervalues the company." -  law firm Kahn Swick & Foti invesetigate Danone's bid for WhiteWave Foods