GMO Labeling Amendment Rejected Overwhelmingly in the Senate

admin | May 24, 2013

On Thursday, by a vote of 27-71, the Senate defeated an amendment to the farm bill from Senator Bernie Sanders that sought to ensure that states can enforce their own laws requiring genetically modified foods to have special labels. 

Some, including Senator Sanders, believe that biotech food companies are pursuing a legal strategy to prevent states from requiring the labels. "When the state of Vermont, and other states go forward in passing legislation to label genetically modified food, they have been threatened by Monsanto and other large biotech companies with costly lawsuits," Sanders said on the Senate floor. 

The amendment would have stated in federal law: "Notwithstanding any other Federal law (including regulations), a State may require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale in that State have a label on the container or package of the food, beverage, or other edible product, indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient."

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to the Senate from the PACs of key companies supporting the use of genetically engineered crops for the 2010, 2012 and 2014 election cycles (January 1, 2009 - March 17, 2013). Contributions data source: FEC

Company2010 Election Cycle2012 Election Cycle2014 Election CycleGrand Total
American Crystal Sugar $194,500 $188,500 $22,500 $405,500
Monsanto Company $79,250 $83,500   $162,750
American Farm Bureau $77,483 $74,951   $152,434
Syngenta Corporation $55,500 $61,500   $117,000
Archer Daniels Midland $39,500 $57,500 $1,000 $98,000
National Cotton Council $42,500 $50,500   $93,000
Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative $36,400 $34,000 $2,000  $72,400
Cargill, Inc. $39,000 $31,500   $70,500
Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative $25,800 $37,000   $62,800
Scotts Miracle-Gro $19,500 $6,500   $26,000
Total: $609,433 $625,451 $25,500


  • Members of the Senate have received $1,260,384 from the PACs of these organizations.
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow, author of the Farm Bill and Chair of the Agriculture Committee, has received $90,500 from these organizations, more than any other senator.
  • Senator Sanders has received no money from these organizations.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from PACs to current members of the 113th Congress since January 1, 2009, based on latest available data from the FEC as of March 17, 2013.

Image credit: WILPF