Vermont governor signs GMO labeling bill


Share
Originally Posted Online: May 08, 2014, 3:12 pm
Last Updated: May 08, 2014, 5:00 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — As hundreds cheered, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a law Thursday that puts Vermont on the path to be the first state to require labeling of genetically modified foods and promptly announced an online fundraiser to battle expected legal challenges from the food industry.

The Vermont law takes effect in mid-2016, but opponents said shortly after the bill signing that they would file a lawsuit. The Grocery Manufacturers' Association said government has no compelling interest in warning consumers about GMO foods. And another obstacle to the state law looms in Congress as Republicans work on a bill that would forbid states from passing and enforcing laws requiring GMO labeling.

Critics of GMO foods consider them environmentally suspect and a possible health threat. But many in the food industry say the food is safe, the technology boosts food production, and its use is less environmentally harmful than traditional farming methods.

In signing the legislation, Shumlin asked for support Internet-wide, announcing the launch of a new website to help the state raise funds toward a court battle with agribusiness or biotech industries.

"We are asking people all across America, and all across the great state of Vermont, to go to (the website) and make a donation, so that we can win the Vermont food fight fund fight not only for Vermont, but for America," Shumlin said.

Meanwhile, the Biotechnology Industry Organization said in a statement that scientists and regulators worldwide recognize that foods made from genetically modified crops are safe. "And these same GM crops have enabled farmers to produce more on less land with fewer pesticide applications, less water and reduced on-farm fuel use," BIO Vice President Cathleen Enright said.

In Congress, a House bill proposes voluntary labels on GMO foods. The bill would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create the guidelines for the labels.

About 300 people gathered on at the Statehouse to celebrate Vermont's decision to take on big industry. After speeches by state officials and others, there was live music and Vermont-made Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

"I'm so proud of the state I live in," said 11-year-old Brigid Ambrust of West Hartford, who started a letter-writing campaign to persuade legislators to pass the law. "I feel like this is a wonderful step toward a healthier world and I'm so glad Vermont is the first to take it."

Maine and Connecticut have previously passed laws requiring labels on GMO foods, but their laws don't take effect unless neighboring states follow suit.














 




Local events heading








  Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.




(More History)