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In May, the Senate overwhelmingly rejected an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. that would have allowed states to require labeling of genetically modified foods.

Sanders’ amendment to a wide-ranging farm bill was an attempt to clarify that states can require the labels, as several legislatures have moved toward putting such laws into place. Senators from farm states that use a lot of genetically modified crops strongly opposed the amendment, saying the issue should be left up to the federal government and that labels could raise costs for consumers.

The final farm bill, which Congress passed and sent to President Barack Obama this week, does not weigh in on genetically modified ingredients.

Opponents of the modified ingredients say the sentiment may change in Congress as more states wade into the labeling debate. Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group, a Washington advocacy group that supports labeling, says he expects around 30 state legislatures to consider the issue this year.

Maine and Connecticut have already enacted labeling laws for engineered foods, but they won’t go into effect until other states in the region follow suit. And Oregon may be the next state to consider a ballot measure on the issue.

Faber says momentum is building across the country for labeling, “not because consumers are concerned about the technology, but because consumers are demanding to know more and more about their food.”

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