Vermont appears on verge of passing GMO labeling law

04/24/2014 12:04:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Vermont GMO labelingVermont appears on the verge of enacting the nation's first no-strings-attached law requiring the labeling of foods that are genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients.

Two other Northeastern states have passed labeling laws for GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. But they won't take effect until additional states pass similar legislation.

Vermont's House voted 114-30 to adopt a state Senate labeling bill, according to an April 23 Wall Street Journal article.

Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he plans to sign the bill, which would take effect in July 2016.

Vermont's legislation is not contingent upon other state's activities.

Maine and Connecticut also have passed GMO labeling bills, but they each require additional states to come on board before labeling requirements would take effect.

Maine, for example, requires four other states with a total population of 20 million to pass similar legislation, whereas Connecticut requires five neighboring states.

Several other states, either through legislative bills or ballot initiatives, have tried unsuccessfully to enact GMO labeling laws.

Currently, 62 GMO labeling bills are active in 23 different state legislatures, according to the WSJ article.

Vermont's actions drew criticism from food and agricultural industry groups, which have fought similar measures in other states. They contend that such labeling requirements are not based on sound science and will hurt consumers.

Labeling opponents point to reviews by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency that found the genetically engineered crops were not significantly different from traditional counterparts. As a result, they did not have to be labeled or otherwise differentiated.

But advocates of GMO labeling say it is simply providing consumers with additional information on which to base decisions.

GMOs crops contain genes or parts of genetic material from unrelated plants or organisms that have been inserted into them to provide additional traits. Field corn varieties, for example, have been engineered to fight worm pests and to withstand herbicide treatments.



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