Food Associations Fight Vermont, Saying “No” to GMO
Exercising an ever insatiable thirst for greed, big American food associations are now bullying the state of Vermont for becoming the first state to say “no” to GMO’s on consumers’ plates.
On May 8, Governor Shumlin signed Vermont’s GMO labeling bill into law, making Vermont the first state that will require labels on genetically engineered foods.The law will require labels on genetically engineered foods (also called genetically modified organisms, or GMOs) sold at retail outlets in Vermont, and will go into effect on July 1, 2016. The law would also prohibit labeling products produced with genetic engineering as “natural,” “100 percent natural,” or “all natural.”
Governor Shumlin summarized the milestone achievement for the crowd present on the Vermont State House lawn for the monumental day with the following:
“Vermonters take our food and how it is produced seriously, and we believe we have a right to know what’s in the food we buy. I am proud that we’re leading the way in the United States to require labeling of genetically engineered food. More than 60 countries have already restricted or labeled these foods, and now one state — Vermont — will also ensure that we know what’s in the food we buy and serve our families. “
Despite the state victory, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and their allies filed a lawsuit on June 12 to halt Vermont’s progress in becoming the first state in the nation to require labels on GMO foods. Although multiple countries in Europe already ban the presence of GMO’s, numerous American food associations claim it is an attack on the right to Freedom of Speech and the clause on free business. This leaves the people of Vermont asking, “whatever happened to the right to not be bullied by monopolizing brands?”
Vermont retaliates by instituting the Food Fight Fund, which was established in April by the Vermont Legislature in order to support the State’s implementation of the food labeling law. Along with the state’s governmental support, Ben & Jerry’s stands behind the decision as well.
Ben & Jerry’s CEO Solheim, who spoke at the bill-signing, said all his company’s products will carry a label indicating they source only non-GMO by the end of 2014. Although the ice cream brand was acquired by Unilever, a member of the Grocer’s Association in question, the environmentally-friendly brand retains its own diplomatic immunity in the food fight. “We’re so pleased that this law will further enhance the reputation and trust in the Vermont brand that has been so important to our company’s identity,” Solheim said.
With increasing potential to lead the way, the ice cream brand recently labored to source all non-GMO ingredients, replacing existing ingredients in their funky flavors. Even though non-genetically modified ingredients tend to cost 25 to 50 percent more, Ben & Jerry’s has no plans to raise prices as a result of the transition.
What do you think of Vermont’s newest law? Do food corporations have the right to attack the state’s ruling? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @Kelseymbro