Small State Takes Big Step in Fight For GMO Labeling


Though Vermont is known for its grand forestry and tasty maple syrup, it might soon be known for becoming the first state in the nation to pass a no-strings-attached GMO labeling law.

The Vermont state Senate easily passed a bill called H. 112, which calls for required labeling of foods sold in Vermont that carry genetically modified ingredients. The bill would also do away with GMO-holding foods being able to be marketed as “natural” or “all natural.” Perhaps most surprising is the lopsided vote count that enabled the bill to be pushed forward– the count was a whopping 26 to two in favor of the bill from the state Senate.

The Organic Consumers Association says this will be the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling law because it doesn’t need other nearby states to pass similar laws to put the law into effect. Maine and Connecticut, for example, passed GMO labeling laws but couldn’t actualize them until neighboring states agreed on similar laws. While that power in numbers method being employed here is meant to prevent lawsuits, a Burlington Free Press article says Vermont lawmakers are under the impression they’ve constructed a law that will be strong enough to stand on its own. Regardless, the legislature made sure to create a fund to help cover legal costs if they get sued over it.

Next, the proposal will go back to the Vermont House, where it is believed that Gov. Peter Shumlin will sign the bill into law.

If and when the bill passes, it will go into full effect on July 1, 2016.

“Today’s victory in Vermont has been 20 years in the making. Ever since genetically modified crops and foods entered the U.S. food supply in the early 1990s, without adequate independent pre-market safety testing and without labels, U.S. consumers have fought to require the labeling of foods containing GMOs,” said Organic Consumers Association last Wednesday. “Today, consumers and a number of principled legislators in Vermont made it clear to Monsanto, Coca-Cola and other opponents of consumers’ right to know: We will not back down. This movement is here to stay.”

Still, some lawmakers are attempting to stop states from enacting their own GMO labeling laws. For example, the recent “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014” has been monikered the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. Fortunately, The Organic Consumers Association believes Congress will not pass that law.


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