Vermont Press Releases

Senate rejects Sanders’ food labeling amendment

For immediate release
June 21, 2012

Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141
Sen. Bernie Sanders office

WASHINGTON, June 21 – The Senate today rejected an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to let states require clear labels on any food or beverage containing genetically engineered ingredients.

The vote on the amendment to the farm bill was 26 to 73.

“This is the very first time a bill on labeling genetically engineered food has been brought before the Senate. It was opposed by virtually every major food corporation in the country. While we wish we could have gotten more votes, this is a good step forward and something we are going to continue to work on. The people of Vermont and the people of America have a right to know what’s in the food that they eat.”

In the past year, 36 bills dealing with the labeling of genetically engineered foods have been introduced in Vermont, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia.

The Vermont Legislature considered a bill that would have required labels on genetically engineered food products. Despite House Agriculture Committee support, however, the measure was stymied after the chemical giant Monsanto threatened to sue the state.

Co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Sanders’ amendment would have made clear that states have the authority to require the labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering.

In the United States, Sanders said, food labels already must list more than 3,000 ingredients ranging from high-fructose corn syrup to trans-fats. Unlike 49 countries around the world, however, foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients do not have to be labeled in the U.S.

The measure also would have required the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to report to Congress within two years on the percentage of food and beverages in the United States that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Pro-consumer organizations backing the Sanders amendment included the Center for Food Safety; Union of Concerned Scientists; National Farmers Union; Environmental Working Group; American Public Health Association; National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Public Citizen; U.S. PIRG; New England Farmers Union; Environment America; National Cooperative Grocers Association; Friends of the Earth; the Sierra Club and others.


If you read us, please support us.

Comment Policy requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer.

We moderate every comment. Please go to our FAQ for the full policy.

Press Release

Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Senate rejects Sanders’ food labeling amendment"
  • Monika Woolsey

    Many thanks to Senator Sanders for stepping up. It is a good first step and it does not have to be the last one.

  • Stephen Talley

    Lets keep up the good fight … If the GMO thugs want to sue the states… bring it on! The more educated the citizens become by such a suit will wake up America. Thank you Senator Sanders and Boxer.

  • Laura Woods

    India has just passed labeling laws on GMO. Even India, who has struggled and suffered greatly with their farmer’s committing massive (250,000 and counting) suicides over Monsanto’s takeover of the family farms.

    That makes 50 countries world-wide whose citizens have the right to know if it’s GMO. But we don’t have labeling here in the United States, even though 90% of US citizens polled want labeling? There is no good reason not to label, only the need for secrecy on the part of Monsanto and the bio-techs. What are they hiding?

    Much of our government is under the heel of Monsanto. So, many thanks to the Senators that supported the people’s right to know, especially many thanks to Sanders and Boxer.

  • frances hall

    thank you bernie sanders and barbara boxer. You provide hope that the U.S. might yet become a civilized country.