CLEAR LAKE, IA - The Vermont House of Representatives has approved legislation calling for labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). With the passage of H-112 by a vote of 99-42, Vermont becomes the first state legislative body in the U.S. to have passed a GMO labeling bill. This historic vote came in the final days of the Vermont legislative session and a vote in the Vermont Senate will most likely take place at the beginning of the next session before the bill can be signed into law as early January 2014.
"After 3 years of stalling the Vermont legislatures finally passed H.112 a GMO labeling bill in the lower house. This is only a partial victory along the way since we still have to convince the Senate next year and go another year without genetically engineered food being labeled in the State of Vermont," said Will Allen, a Vermont farmer who manages Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vermont and helped build the VT Right to Know GMO campaign that fought to get the bill passed. The VT Right to Know GMO campaign is a collaborative project of VPIRG, NOFA-VT and Rural Vertmont.
“Today’s vote in Vermont is a clear victory for the growing movement for common sense labeling of genetically engineered foods here in the U.S.”, said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of more than 500,000 farmers and citizens that has helped lead the charge on GMO labeling efforts in the U.S.
Currently, sixty-four other countries around the world already have laws that label genetically engineered foods, including all of Europe, Russia, China, South Africa and even Syria.
“American’s have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Murphy. “GMO labeling is a basic civil right and it’s time that the U.S. join the rest of the civilized world in providing this simple information to consumers.”
Last fall, a ballot initiative in California narrowly lost, 51 to 49 percent, after giant chemical companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow and big food companies like Pepsi, Coke, Nestle, Kraft and Kellogg’s spent more than $45 million to defeat the initiative.
“This movement is here to finish what we started in California,” said Murphy, who also served as co-chair of the Prop 37 campaign. “GMO labeling will soon be a reality here in the U.S. and the biotech industry know this. We’re not stopping until we have a strong GMO labeling law that guarantees the rights of all Americans to know what’s in their food,” claimed Murphy.
After the defeat of Prop 37, Food Democracy Now! joined a coalition of 37 states that are currently working on GMO labeling bills or ballot initiatives across the country. So far this year, GMO labeling bills have been introduced in Connecticut, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico and Arizona among other, while a ballot initiative is slated for November 2013 in Washington state.