The Vermont House of Representatives passed a precedent-setting bill Wednesday that’s expected to make Vermont the first state to require disclosure of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.
The measure is awaiting approval from the governor who’s expected to sign it, according to reports. It would take effect in 2016.
The National Cooperative Grocers Association is applauding Vermont lawmakers for passing the bill.
“This is a proud day for Vermont,” said Kari Bradley, general manager of NCGA-affiliate Hunger Mountain Cooperative in Montpelier. “Accomplishment of this legislation is a testament to the value Vermonters place on good food and our fundamental right to know what we are eating. Our cooperative is deeply appreciative of the efforts of everyone who supported this legislation.”
But other stakeholders, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, oppose a fragmented approach to legislation, and instead favor the federal Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014.
“Today, the Vermont legislature passed HB 112, a bill that is critically flawed and not in the best interests of consumers," said GMA in a statement. "It sets the nation on a costly and misguided path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies that will do nothing to advance the safety of consumers. We are currently in the process of evaluating the legislation to determine the best course of action in response to its passage."
The NCGA, meanwhile, is urging Congress not to support the federal GMO bill, which would prevent Vermont and other states from enacting their own GMO disclosure laws.
“We urge Congress not to support this misguided bill, and instead encourage the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act,” said Robynn Shrader, CEO for NCGA, in a statement. “Vermont’s GMO labeling law is an important step in the movement toward federally mandated GMO labeling, and we hope the Vermont campaign sparks momentum towards food transparency nationwide.”
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