Vermont is leading the charge when it comes to state-wide GMO labeling after the state’s senate voted to approve mandatory labeling for foods containing genetically modified organisms. The bill must still be approved by the House, which needs to review amendments made to the bill that was originally passed by the House in 2013. If that goes according to plan, the bill could be on the governor’s desk this week and rolled out on food labels by July, 2016.
GMO labeling bills have hit roadblocks in some states such as California, where misleading anti-labeling campaigns were blamed for a proposal’s ultimate defeat in the state. Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO labeling bills, but their bills rely on neighboring states to enact similar measures before labeling goes into effect. Vermont’s bill has no such provision.
Vermont lawmakers expect Monsanto or other GMO manufacturers to sue the state to prevent the law from taking effect, so the bill has built-in funds allotted for defending the law in court. The state is confident that it will ultimately prevail and citizens will be able to decide for themselves whether or not to consume GMOs. Labeling has been controversial and opponents say that GMOs are healthy and necessary for keeping foods affordable. The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, which has received donations from GMO suppliers like Coca-Cola and Nestle, is fighting to make a federal law which would override state laws, preventing GMO labels altogether.