It was reported on Wednesday by The Hill that “crucial players in the American food industry are pressing for legislation that would institute a national voluntary labeling system for products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. The effort follows expensive battles in California and Washington over state ballot initiatives seeking to impose mandatory labeling regulations for foodstuffs containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Following the recent rejection by Washington State voters of mandatory labeling of GMOs, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said in a statement “because a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws would be confusing and costly to consumers, GMA will advocate for a federal solution that will protect consumers by ensuring that the FDA, America’s leading food safety authority, sets national standards for the safety and labeling of products made with GMO ingredients.  Our country’s labeling laws have been and should continue to be based on health, safety, and nutritional content.”

Federal legislation imposing voluntary standards is needed to “guard against a costly, unnecessary and inefficient state-by-state system,” according to a memo being circulated among food industry trade groups, The Hill reported. A coalition led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is behind the effort, industry officials said. Supporters of mandatory GOP labeling worry federal legislation could pre-empt state laws that would require the labels.