July 1st marks the first day of mandatory GMO labeling, at least in Vermont. Although the new law only applies to food sold in Vermont, any company which sells food nationwide would either need specific packaging for Vermont or would in effect be labeling their product everywhere. Many believe this will begin a chain reaction in GMO labeling.
Federal law makers are considering ways of putting a hold on the state law, citing concerns about its impact on US agriculture and commerce. They claim that state level laws could potentially create 50 different regulation frameworks that food product manufacturers would have to adhere to. Additionally, they claim that labeling GMOs will unnecessarily increase food prices.
The Senate has proposed a compromise law that will be voted on in the next few weeks. This law allows food manufacturers to display GMO information by either printing it on the box or having a QR code that one can scan with a smart phone. Opponents of the bill say that requiring a smart phone to read the label defeats the purpose of even having a label and helps keep US consumers in the dark about their food.
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