The state of Vermont has become the first state in the USA to pass a law requiring the appropriate labeling of genetically modified foods.
A multi-state trigger, such as those contained in laws passed by Connecticut and Maine, was rejected out-of-hand as being “close to meaningless.” It was all or nothing!
I have to make it clear at this point that I don’t know enough of the details to say why this has happened. I will therefore take a guess, and point you to some sources where you can gather information and form your own opinion.
In spite of the fact that most Americans want to know if they are eating GM foods, (93% according to a national New York Times poll in January 2013), the GM companies have hitherto been successful in blocking legislation requiring labeling by throwing money at the problem.
There has been a low-key campaign in Vermont against GM since 1990. Its almost as if the “lobbyists handbook” has been pressed into service, and the population has turned into activists en masse. Legislators were flooded with phone calls, emails and postcards urging them to pass the bill.
Veteran lawmakers who typically are unimpressed by the deluge of rote form letters they receive for various causes found that these messages came from real people they knew in their communities.
This resulted in two important conclusions:- “individual rights are more important than an industry’s rights'”, and “Boy this is real. They want this”.
“This vote is a reflection of years of work from a strong grass-roots base of Vermonters who take their food and food sovereignty seriously and do not take kindly to corporate bullies,” Will Allen, manager of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, said in a statement Wednesday after the House approved the bill.
Vermont has a history of being the state that is a ‘little bit different’. For example, “In 1968 Vermont outlawed the use of billboards for advertisement along its roads. It is the only state in the nation that has done this.” (Wikipedia).
With the passing of the bill to require labeling for genetically modified foods, they are certainly maintaining this tradition!
Thunderous Applause for the Vermonters!