Vermont is poised to become the first U.S.
state to legislate mandatory labeling on foods containing genetically modified
ingredients after a bill passed through both Vermont House of Representatives
and Vermont Senate, reports Reuters.
The Senate passed the bill (H.112) by a 28-2
vote, and the House of Representatives approved it yesterday in a 114-30 vote.
Its next stop is the governor’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed into
law. It would take effect on July 1, 2016.
The bill would not only require labeling on
any foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, but it would also
prevent those foods from being labeled as “natural” or any variation of the
term. “Natural” claims have come under scrutiny lately, landing several major
food brands with class action lawsuits for using that term to describe products
that include GMOs.
Vermont’s bill would not be the first GMO
labeling bill passed in the U.S. – Maine and Connecticut recently passed GMO
labeling bills too-but it would be the first without trigger clauses. In the
cases of Maine and Connecticut, other states must pass similar GMO labeling laws
before theirs would go into effect.
“Vermont’s leading the nation on this,
giving consumers basic information about the food that they are eating,”
said Falko Schilling, a spokesman for the Vermont Public Interest Research
Group. “This is a model that the rest of the country can look to moving
According to Reuters, Vermont’s effort comes
as “the developers of genetically modified crops and the $360 billion U.S.
packaged food industry push for passage of a bill in Congress that would
nullify any state law to require labeling of foods made with such crops.”
Image: Jaro Lamos