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NEFU Opposes the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act;
Supports the Protecting the Sustainable Use of Spent Grains Act

April 14, 2014 SHELBURNE FALLS, MA—New England Farmers Union (NEFU), a membership organization that supports New England’s family farmers, voiced its position on two new pieces of legislation.

NEFU opposes H.R. 4432, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, sponsored by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C. The legislation would make voluntary the labeling of products containing genetically engineered organisms.

“New England Farmers Union is in favor requiring conspicuous, mandatory consumer labeling for foods made from or containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs),” said NEFU President Roger Noonan. “The rights of both GMO and non-GMO producers should be respected as appropriate regulatory agencies continue to research and evaluate ethical, environmental, food safety, legal, market and structural issues that impact everyone in the food chain,” he added.

“This legislation would pre-empt state actions to label foods containing GMOs,” said Noonan. NEFU supports the authority of lower levels of government and opposes pre-emption by federal standards.

“Surveys have consistently shown that consumers want more information about their food, not less,” said Noonan. “As food producers, New England Farmers Union members fully understand the need to meet the market’s demands.”

NEFU supports the Protecting the Sustainable Use of Spent Grains Act, introduced on April 8 by Reps. Cory Gardner (CO-4), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and Steve Womack (AR-3). The bill prevents the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from regulating spent grain and interjecting itself into the long-standing relationship between breweries and farmers.

“For centuries, breweries and farmers have established a productive relationship that’s good for the breweries, the farmers and the environment,” said Noonan. Spent grains are a high-protein by-product of the brewing process that breweries donate or sell to farmers for use as animal feed.

In October 2013, the FDA proposed a rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act that would subject breweries that sell or donate spent grains to onerous new requirements.

“These new requirements will drive up costs for breweries, leaving them with no choice but to dispose of spent grains in landfills, and forcing farmers to purchase lower quality, higher cost animal feed,” said Noonan.

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New England Farmers Union, a member-driven organization, is committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, fishermen, nurserymen, and their customers through educational opportunities, co-operative endeavors and civic engagement. For more information, see www.newenglandfarmersunion.org.

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