Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Vermonters at a rally in 2013 supporting GMO labeling. (Photo: Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center/cc/flickr)

Victory! Vermont Passes Landmark GMO Labeling Law

"This movement is here to stay."

Andrea Germanos

 Vermont made history on Thursday by becoming the first state to require the labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients following passage of a no "trigger clause" bill.

The measure passed both bodies of the state legislature last month, and officially became law Thursday afternoon with Governor Peter Shumlin's signature.

In addition to the mandated labeling to take effect July 2016, the law prevents GMO foods from being labeled with "natural" or with any other similarly misleading statement.

While two other New England states — Connecticut and Maine — have passed GMO labeling laws, theirs require a certain number of other states to also enact GMO legislation. Vermont's law, in contrast, has no such trigger clause.

"Vermont sent a clear message that it has sided with the 93 percent of Americans who support mandatory labeling, and not the chemical companies who want to keep us in the dark," Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group (EWG), said in a statement. "Americans, regardless of whether they live in Vermont or any other state, want and deserve the right to know more about their food."

Vermont is already bracing for a fight from labeling opponents, and has set up a Food Fight Fund site to "mount a powerful defense" against future legal battles.

Despite well-funded opposition from groups like the Grocery Manufacturers Association, EWG states that there are over "30 other states are poised to consider labeling bills and ballot initiatives this year." Advocates say this is as sign the labeling movement is going strong.

Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm and chairman of Just Label It, cheered Vermont's law as a "historic victory" and said that opponents "will not prevail." Rather, the win in Vermont will catalyze the movement and "hasten similar labeling bills across the country and ultimately at the federal level. This is what citizens want," he stated.

Echoing Hirshber, Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, stated that "[w]e will not back down. This movement is here to stay."

______________________________


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Michigan Judge Blocks Enforcement of 'Chilling and Dangerous' 1931 Abortion Ban

The decision is a "welcome" development "but our work continues," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, vowing to use "every tool in my toolbox to fight like hell for women and healthcare providers."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Terrible Idea': Biden Preparing to Shift Costs of Covid Treatments, Vaccines to Patients

"We must push back," said one doctor. "Free provision of vaccinations, Paxlovid, and monoclonals has been critically important."

Kenny Stancil ·


Trump-Appointed Judge Permanently Blocks Biden's Oil and Gas Leasing Moratorium

Fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters has accounted for an estimated 25% of all U.S. carbon emissions since 2005.

Jake Johnson ·


In Landslide 1,108-to-387 Vote, Maine Nurses Reject Effort to Decertify Their Union

"They thought because we were a new union, they could manipulate Maine Med nurses and overturn our 2021 election," said one nurse. "But we just showed them the door."

Jake Johnson ·


Dems Threaten to Subpoena FTI Consulting Over 'Blanket Refusal' to Provide Info on Fossil Fuel Work

"FTI's refusal to cooperate with this congressional inquiry shows that they have something to hide, which will reveal the dangerous ways agencies like theirs have promoted fossil fuel greenwash and misinformation," said the Clean Creatives campaign's leader.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo