GMO Labelling: Vermont pursues Genetically Engineered Food Act



( -- A bill has recently been introduced in the Vermont state legislature that would require food to be labelled as genetically engineered if it is entirely or partially produced with genetically engineered ingredients.

If passed, the bill, H.722, also known as the 'VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act', will take effect in 2014.

The bill also forbids any such food from using advertising or promotional material that states or implies that the food is:

-- "natural"

-- "naturally made"

-- "naturally grown"

-- "all natural," or

-- Any words of similar meaning

According to the language of the bill, it would require:

"... in the case of a raw agricultural commodity, on the package offered for retail sale ... the clear and conspicuous words, 'genetically engineered' on the front of the package ... [or] on a label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which such commodity is displayed for sale.

... in the case of any processed food, in clear and conspicuous language on the front or back of the package ... the words, 'partially produced with genetic engineering' or 'may be partially produced with genetic engineering'".

Finally we're starting to see some real opposition against genetically engineered foods in general, and unlabeled GMO's (genetically modified organisms) in particular, in the U.S.! Aside from this Vermont bill, California, Michigan and Washington are also working on ballot initiatives to get mandatory labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods in their states. Vermont takes it a step further though, as the legislation would effectively also end phoney "all natural" claims for products that in actuality contain wholly unnatural, GMOs.

Personally, I believe GM foods must be banned entirely, but labelling is the most efficient way to achieve this. Since 85 percent of the public will refuse to buy foods they know to be genetically modified, this will effectively eliminate them from the market just the way it was done in Europe.

Sheer ignorance on the part of American consumers has allowed Monsanto and other biotech companies to saturate the market with their genetically altered wares. And misuse of the "all natural" label has only made matters worse. According to a 2010 Hartman Group poll, more than 60 percent of consumers erroneously believe that the "natural" label implies or suggests the absence of GM ingredients, but that is sadly NOT the case... In fact, at the current time, the ONLY label that can protect you against GM ingredients is the USDA 100% Organic label.

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