How MN's US senators, representatives voted on the GMO labeling bill


The first U.S. bill that would require foods to have a label (or a QR code) signifying whether they contain genetically modified ingredients will likely be signed by the president.

The U.S. House passed the proposal 306-117 Thursday, just a week after the U.S. Senate approved it 63-30.

What does that mean? Assuming President Barack Obama signs it (which he's expected to), in two years food that you buy at big stores will have to be marked with easy-to-see language or a digital code if it contains GMOs.

Here's a look at what the bill does, and which of Minnesota's U.S. lawmakers supported it.

So what can you expect on food packaging?

Under the bill, GMO food (aka "bioengineering") means food that has been modified by tweaking the DNA, and in a way that couldn't happen through "conventional breeding" or just be found in nature.

The package itself doesn't have to say "This is a GMO food" and list a bunch of information (though text or a not-yet-decided symbol noting it contains GM ingredients will be an option, the New York Times says).

Instead, it can simply be a QR code (or some other digital link) that can be scanned to go to a web page that provides the GMO nutrition information.

That page can't have marketing or promotional information. And the page can't be used to collect, analyze, or sell personal data of the people who visit it. It's also got to be big enough to be easily seen and scanned.

A telephone number people can call to get the information is also an option.

The Department of Agriculture will also have to conduct a study within a year looking at technological challenges (so for example, how good is the cell signal in the middle of a big box store?).

According to Politico, critics (most of them Democrats) say the bill doesn't go far enough, and that only requiring food companies to supply QR codes means people without access to smartphones or cell data will be unable to access the information.

Supporters though (mostly Republicans) note it's a compromise for people on both sides of the issue, and point to studies that say there's no evidence GMOs are inherently unsafe to eat, the website explains.

Party identification aside, the bills passed pretty overwhelmingly. Just as many Senate Democrats voted for it as those who voted against it; and in the House, 101 Democrats were in favor, while 81 Democrats voted nay.

The margin was much wider on the Republican side.

Who voted for, against it

So how did Minnesota's U.S. senators and representatives vote? Every single one that voted was in favor. Here's a breakdown.

Sen. Al Franken – D


Sen. Amy Klobuchar – D


Rep. Tim Walz – D


Rep. John Kline – R


Rep. Erik Paulsen – R


Rep. Betty McCollum – D


Rep. Keith Ellison – D

Did not vote (was not present)

Re. Tom Emmer – R


Rep. Collin Peterson – D


Rep. Rick Nolan – D


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