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Vermont first state to pass mandatory GMO food-labeling law

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 18, 2014 in Food
Monsanto and other companies making food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are in the habit of winning, of having states and entire countries not require mandatory labeling of GMOs. But not this time, not in Vermont.
On Wednesday, the state's senate passed a bill requiring mandatory food labels on foods that have been made with genetically modified crops, a bill that would make Vermont the first state in the U.S. to do so.
"We are really excited that Vermont is going to be leading on this," Falko Schilling of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group said. Mr. Schilling's group was a strong supporter of the bill, which passed by a 28-2 vote. The bill now heads back to the Vermont House of Representatives, which had already passed it, to see if the house will alter any of the changes the senate made to the bill. It goes into effect on July 1.
There are yet hurdles to the Vermont bill as companies such as Monsanto have combined to push for a bill, now before the U.S. Congress, which would strike down any state law that would require mandatory labeling on foods made with GMOs.
Companies who make these products maintain they are proven safe by studies but those opposed say just the opposite; those opposed note that many scientists believe there is not enough evidence to support the notion that GMOs are safe. Opponents also note that it is the right of the consumer to know what is in the food they purchase. The companies say labeling is unnecessary and expensive.
The Vermont Right to Know GMO coalition is expecting the companies to try and stop the bill with a lawsuit and say they are ready to fight on. The language of the bill passed Wednesday, they note, allows for a state fund to be created to fight any suit.
"It's not just Vermont," said Andrea Stander of the coalition. "This affects everyone who eats. Consumers all across the country have woken up to the fact that we've become an unregulated feeding experiment by the biotech industry. People want to know if their foods are made with these ingredients.
"This gives people the choice."
More about Gmos, foodlabeling, Monsanto, Genetically modified food
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