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Governor Shumlin on GMO: That's why we don't trust Washington

Staff Writer | July 11, 2016
The Senate passed a bill that would allow food companies to disclose genetically engineered ingredients without using on-package labels.
Peter Shumlin
Genetically modified   A national standard for GMO labeling
Just a week after Vermont’s first-in-the-nation mandatory GMO labeling law went into effect, the Senate passed a bill that would override it.

The bipartisan measure will set a national standard for GMO labeling that allows companies a variety of options for disclosing genetically modified ingredients, including on-package labeling, a scannable QR code, or a call-in hotline. The bill still needs to pass the House and be signed by the president before becoming law.

The USDA estimates that 24,000 more products would require disclosure under the Senate’s regulation compared with the Vermont law.

Governor Peter Shumlin issued a statement after the U.S. Senate advanced legislation that would replace Vermont’s GMO labeling law with a weakened labeling standard that would require customers to use a smartphone to access information about GMOs in the food they buy.

“Today’s action by the Senate is exactly why Americans don’t trust Washington D.C. It’s a sad day when so many members of the U.S. Senate sell out to big food and big business and turn their backs on those who elected them. This flawed bill is a capitulation to the food industry that does not even come close to providing the transparency that consumers deserve.

“Vermont acted in good faith to provide its citizens with a common sense labeling law that guarantees clear, accessible information. For a Republican-controlled Congress that continually argues for states’ rights to act to take away Vermonters’ right to know what is in their food is the height of hypocrisy and a sad statement on the power of special interests in Congress.

“I hope members of the U.S. Congress will begin listening to their constituents instead of food industry lobbyists and kill this flawed bill before it is too late.”