Under a bill gaining support
in the Statehouse, Vermont could be the first state in the nation to require
labels on products made with genetically modified crops. Lawmakers are now trying to craft
the measure so it can withstand an expected court challenge.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan
to give individual states the authority to require the labeling of genetically
engineered foods has been defeated in the U.S. Senate by a three to one
margin. His proposal was one of
more than 70 amendments to the 2012 Farm Bill.
Two organizations filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Pinnacle Foods Group,
saying that the company’s labeling of genetically-modified and synthetic foods
as "all natural" violates the Vermont Consumer Protection Act.
Secretary Chuck Ross says the Shumlin administration agrees that people
should be able to know whether GMOs are in their food but he says the threat of
lawsuit makes current legislation untenable.
Genetically engineered products are prevalent in the food system, from
fruits and vegetables, to processed foods. But critics of GMOs say
consumers don’t have access to reliable information about the
genetically modified organisms they are eating.