Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How the Vermont Bill can make the required difference!



According to Natural News, a bill requiring foods produced with genetic engineering be labeled in Vermont has been passed by both the house and the senate. Anti-GMO groups welcomed the news that the bill had passed in the House of Representatives by such a large majority (114:30), with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) describing this as a “historic day for the people's right to know” and promising to help defend H112 should it face a legal challenge.

Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, praised Vermont lawmakers “for having the courage to stand up to corporate bullying", adding: “If Vermont is sued, we intend to use all the resources at our disposal to support Vermont in its groundbreaking effort.”

Currently, federal law does not require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, as the FDA has consistently argued that they do not differ from other foods "in any meaningful or material way" or present any different or greater safety concerns than foods developed by traditional plant breeding methods.

A First Amendment challenge to H112 would therefore be tough to defend, say attorneys, as the defense (i.e. the state) would have to prove that failure to label GMOs would harm consumers.

H112 has some high profile industry supporters including Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen, who argue that consumers have a right to know what they are eating. However, it has been criticized by other industry groups, which argue that labeling foods containing GE ingredients erroneously implies that there is something wrong with them.

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