On Thursday Vermont Governor Shumlin signed the bill into law which will become effective in July 2016. At the event the Governor announced the launch of a website to help the state raise funds toward a court battle with agribusiness or biotech industries.
“I am proud of Vermont for being the first state in the nation to ensure that Vermonters will know what is in their food. The Legislature has spoken loud and clear through its passage of this bill,” Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.) said in a statement after the bill passed. “I wholeheartedly agree with them and look forward to signing this bill into law.”
“We are asking people all across America, and all across the great state of Vermont, to go to (the website) and make a donation, so that we can win” the fight not only for Vermont, but for America, Shumlin said.
On the 23rd of April the State legislature passed the bill with an overwhelming majority of 114-20 votes. The Vermont labeling bill (H. 112) is the first bill that will go into effect independent of actions by other states. GE labeling bills in Connecticut and Maine have required that a certain number of states enact similar legislation before they would take effect.
The bill language addresses the failure of the federal government to label food and the conflict with the natural label: “Because both the FDA and the U.S. Congress do not require the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering, the State should require food produced with genetic engineering to be labeled as such in order to serve the interests of the State.”
“In addition to requiring that foods produced using genetic engineering be labeled, the bill also mandates that GE foods cannot be labeled as “natural.”
The Grocery Manufacturer’s association (GMA) has already announced that they will be suing Vermont in a Federal law suit, specifying that government has no compelling interest in warning consumers about GMO foods.
The Vermont bill says genetically modified foods “potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment” and includes $1.5 million for implementation and defense against lawsuits expected from the food and biotech industries.