Ready for Battle: Vermont Set to Become the First State to Require GMO Labeling PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Monday, April 28, 2014

Hooray for Vermont! Last week, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill mandating that foods that contain GMO's must state that the food was produced with “genetic engineering” The bill also makes it illegal to state "all natural" or "natural" on a GMO food.vermontgov

The Governor, Peter Shumlin, said he would sign the bill. This will be the first GMO Labeling bill that will take effect without any triggers. Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO labeling laws, but each had triggers that keep them from taking effect until nearby states pass similar laws. This bill in Vermont will take effect on July 1, 2016.

This means that any company that has GMOs in their food will need to change their label to state it is produced with “genetic engineering” .

The state took unusual measures to prepare for a potential battle with the likes of Monsanto. The bill requires creating a fund of $1.5 million to settle the state's defense against a lawsuit. If they lose a lawsuit (let's hope that doesn't happen), they are expected to shell out anywhere from $5 million to 8 million in legal costs.

90 percent of the corn and soybeans sold in the U.S. are genetically modified. It gets more complicated with eggs, milk and meat producers who feed their animals with GMO crops. Unfortunately, companies who do feed their animals GMO feed are not required to label or even to notify anyone about it, because the FDA says they "do not raise any safety issues" on this practice. This is a legal question not answered in Vermont yet and will be something to watch for.

The failure of 2013 ballot initiatives in California and Washington state to require labeling was a tough blow for labeling proponents, who have welcomed the news from Vermont.

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Organic and the Just Label It campaign, said in a statement. "This is a huge victory for consumers across the country ... Vermont's law will establish a precedent that other states are sure to follow."

To stay up on this issue, stay in touch with http://justlabelit.org. 

 

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