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Non-GMO Labeling may be Mandatory in Vermont

Non-GMO Labeling may be Mandatory in Vermont by July 1, 2016

Vermont will likely be the first state to make the labeling of genetically modified food products mandatory. After a 35-minute debate on Wednesday, the Vermont Senate has approved a bill previously passed by the house in 2013, with a 114 to 30 sweep, in favor of labeling products containing GMO’s. The new bill will take effect July 1, 2016 and require labeling of all products that contain GMO’s.

Genetically modified organisms are foods that contain corn, soy or other plants that have been inserted with a gene from an unrelated species, to give them certain characteristics (like resistance to insects or enhanced nutrients). The impacts this bill will have on Vermont food producers is huge, with 70-80 percent of packaged food on a typical supermarket’s store shelves needing to be relabeled.   The bill grants the Attorney General’s Office the job of establishing rules surrounding the labels. Those requirements have yet to be released but the goal is clear, to decrease the risk to humans who ingest products containing genetically modified organisms.  Studies on the effects of GMO’s to humans are still in their infancy. With these organisms becoming popular in 1990, many believe the dangers of this manufacturing won’t be fully evident for years to come.

Along with the labeling of GMO’s, legislation is also seeking to ban the use of genetically modified seeds until labeling requirements can be more clearly defined. Labeling is already required in 64 countries but not the U.S. A few states like Maine and Connecticut have passed labeling laws but under the ruling, those laws won’t take effect until neighboring states have also joined the cause. Vermont lawmakers have rejected that route and supporters of the food labeling bill hope their efforts will clear the way for other states to do the same. “As Vermont goes, so goes the nation,” said Rep. Kate Webb, D-Shelburne, lead sponsor of the bill.

To read H.112, the GMO labeling bill, visit http://tiny.cc/8jesex. This law affects all food producers with the exception of meat, dairy, liquor and prepared food sold in restaurants.

For producers effected by the new bill, three options for wording are available, they are: “produced with genetic engineering.”, “partially produced with genetic engineering,” or “may be produced with genetic engineering,”. The labeling regulation will likely have an impact on product sales for many of these producers, as consumers will be able to compare products and choose non-GMO options.

To stay ahead of the bill and stand out on the grocery store shelve, ImageTek Labels is encouraging Vermont food producers to modify there labels early and in advance of labeling regulations. For more information about how you can digitally print your labels please contact sales@imageteklabels.com.