Vermont lawmakers passed a state bill to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO). Both the House and Senate approved the bill and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said he plans to sign it. The requirements would take effect July 1, 2016.
“Any law requiring the labeling of foods that contain GMO ingredients creates extra costs for farmers, food manufacturers, distributors, grocers and consumers,” said to Karen Batra, Biotechnology Industry Organization director of food and agriculture communications.
Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association said the national grassroots movement calling for mandatory labeling has prevailed despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent fighting against it.
“Vermont’s landmark victory today will force food companies to either label GMOs in all states or reformulate their products to be GMO-free in order to avoid stating ‘this product was produced using genetic engineering’ on their packaging,” he said.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) has introduced legislation that provides for a national uniform standard, rather than a state patchwork of bills. That legislation is widely supported by mainstream agricultural groups. Over 25 states have introduced a bill or referendum that calls for labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Industry anticipates labeling could increase costs to consumers by as much as $400 per year.