Organic Consumers Association

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Vermont's New GMO Law May Upend Food Industry Nationwide

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Vermont News page.

The biggest worry weighing on the nation's food industry may not be drought in the West, farmworker shortages or turbulent international trade negotiations, but a change in the regulatory code in Vermont.

Under a law signed this month, the tiny New England state, population 626,000, will soon require that food companies tell consumers which products on grocers' shelves have genetically modified ingredients. In doing so, Vermont could force food growers, processors and retailers to upend how they serve hundreds of millions of customers nationwide.

The law puts Vermont at the forefront of a national movement that major food processors and agricultural companies are doing their utmost to kill.

Agribusiness firms and trade associations have poured tens of millions of dollars into political advertising and consultants to campaign against GMO labeling requirements and have enlisted members of Congress in a bid to outlaw state labeling rules. Industry officials have also vowed to sue Vermont, hoping to block its rule in court.

But although the industry has won several major battles on the issue - including ballot initiative campaigns in California in 2012 and in Washington state last year - the national push for GMO labeling has proved a resilient grass-roots effort, given added push by a broad swath of celebrity chefs, food writers and actors.        
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