Vermont Senators on Wednesday voted 26 to 2 to approve a bill that would make Vermont the first state to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms, affirming the bill's passage by the state's House nearly a year ago.
The bill, which requires labeling of all foods for retail sale in Vermont as "produced with genetic engineering," also prohibits GM foods from being labeled as "natural," or including any related phrase thereof.
It does not impact foods sold in restaurants, and exempts some foods made with processing aids or enzymes and products entirely derived from animals not produced with genetic engineering, regardless if the animal ingested GM feed.
"Today the Senate stood up for the vast majority of Vermonters who want to see genetically engineered foods labeled," said Falko Schilling, representative of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, a supporter of labeling. "Vermont is once again leading the nation by acknowledging the important fact that everyone has a right to know what they are eating."
If House members approve the Senators' changes and it receives Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin's signature, the bill will take effect July 1, 2016.
Action ahead, but lawsuits lurk
Unlike laws recently passed in Maine and Connecticut, the Senate version of the new law does not require a enactment of GMO labeling laws in other states before it takes effect.