A bill requiring foods produced with genetic engineering be labeled in Vermont has passed by 28 votes to two in the State Senate.
Some changes made by the Senate must still be approved by the State House, which previously approved the measure (107-37). Pending the governor’s signature, the law would take effect July 1, 2016.
The progress of H112 is being watched carefully by the trade, as unlike some other state GMO labeling initiatives (eg. bills that have passed in Maine and Connecticut), it has no ‘trigger clause’ and would take effect regardless of action from other states.
Unlike some other GMO labeling bills, H112 does not require meat or milk from animals fed genetically engineered feed to be labeled, and excludes medical foods and foods sold in restaurants.
However, it does includes some of the controversial clauses enshrined in Californian GMO labeling initiative Prop 37 - which was narrowly defeated in 2012 - including the stipulation that foods containing genetically engineered ingredients cannot be marketed as ‘natural’.
While the bill has some high profile industry supporters including Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen who argue that consumers have a right to know what they are eating, it has been criticized by other industry sources, which argue that labeling foods containing GE ingredients erroneously implies that there is something wrong with them.