DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- An Iowa Senate panel planned Wednesday to hold a public hearing on a bill that would require labeling of genetically modified foods, though even supporters acknowledged it has no chance of passage this session.
The Senate Agriculture Subcommittee will hold the hearing on the bill, though a legislative deadline would require it to be approved by the full Senate and a House committee by Friday, making its passage virtually impossible.
It would require food to be labeled if it contained genetically modified ingredients, but there would be exceptions for organic products, alcohol and meat.
"We chose to bite off a certain part of the dinner plate here and thought it would be easier to start with educating folks about it," said bill sponsor Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, acknowledging the effort was more about drawing attention to the issue.
Supporters who held a rally outside the Capitol on Wednesday said it's important to focus attention on the issue.
"We're going to continue to educate and raise awareness," said Matt Ohloff, Iowa regional organizer for Food and Water Watch, a Washington-based consumer group.
They note that most corn and soybeans is produced from seeds that have been genetically modified to give them traits favored by farmers, such as drought tolerance.
Ohloff said food containing genetically modified ingredients should be labeled so consumers can make informed choices.
"Consumers deserve the right to know if their food is genetically engineered through mandatory labeling," Ohloff said.