The Senate on Thursday rejected an amendment to the farm bill that would have given states the power to require labels on genetically modified food.
"This is the very first time a bill on labeling genetically engineered food has been brought before the Senate," said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), who introduced the proposal. "It was opposed by virtually every major food corporation in the country. While we wish we could have gotten more votes, this is a good step forward and something we are going to continue to work on. The people of Vermont and the people of America have a right to know what's in the food that they eat."
Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow opposed the amendment, claiming it could interfere with the development of drought resistant crops.
The amendment was defeated by a 26-73 vote.
When the Vermont Legislature considered a bill that would have required genetically modified food to be labelled, the agricultural giant Monsanto threatened to sue the state. Despite public support, the legislation failed to pass.
Sanders' amendment would not have required states to label genetically modified. It would only have given states legal protection to do so.