GMO labeling bill heads for full Senate vote

An initiative to label foods containing genetically modified organisms sold in Vermont passed a legislative panel Thursday.

The Senate Appropriations committee unanimously approved H.112, a food-labeling bill designed to disclose GMOs found in certain foods. The full Senate will take up the bill as soon as next week.

Lawmakers anticipate defending the legislation in court and have set up a $1.5 million legal fund for the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. The money will come from any excess brought in by legal settlements made with businesses that violate the law; private donations from the public; and any appropriations from the general fund.

The committee amended the bill to require lawmakers to redirect any excess money in the fund after July 1, 2018, unless there are pending legal proceedings.

The attorney general would issue civil penalties up to $1,000 a day for each product that violates the law.

The House last session voted 99-42 in favor of the bill. The Senate Agriculture Committee this year removed triggers requiring it to go into effect by a certain date or sooner if other states adopt similar labeling provisions. The amended bill unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, has made the bill a priority this session.

“These have been three really strong committee votes. And the House has very strong votes,” he said after the vote. “So I think there is general will to move this legislation forward.”

The House will offer final recommendations on the bill if it passes the Senate.

“You never know if it’s going to conference committee what might happen there,” Zuckerman said.

Clarification: Wording in this article on the removal of “triggers” from the House bill and the source of funding for a legal defense of the law was made clearer at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

John Herrick

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11 Comments on "GMO labeling bill heads for full Senate vote"


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Judith McLaughlin
2 years 9 months ago
So, if I read this Bill correctly, Vermont is trying to pass a law, and at the same time exempt itself from it. The very same argument used to pass this law, exempts milk and animals. So I am to believe that Lab animals are affected by eating GMO feed, yet I’m not to worry because milk produced from cows eating a lifetime worth of GMO feed does not need to be labled….nor meat from same animals. Oh yes, and my favorite exemption…the “Oh I didn’t know” rule. The only thing I can say about this law, if passed is… Read more »
Paula Schramm
2 years 9 months ago
As you’ve probably heard explained before, the bill refers to food that is genetically modified or engineered as needing to be labeled. Animals that are not themselves genetically engineered do not fit that description, and therefore wouldn’t be labeled as such. The milk that such an animal produces is also not itself genetically engineered, so ditto with that. This doesn’t mean to say that we don’t need to pursue long-term and well-designed studies on the effects on animals of eating feed that includes GMOs, or on the food they produce, as in milk. It does mean that for the purposes… Read more »
Al Walskey
2 years 9 months ago
Labeling is NOT a ban it is just information to inform consumers. As a diabetic I need to regulate my intake of carbohydrates. As one with high blood pressure sodium is of interest. Without this information health care costs would rise because consumers wouldn’t be able to make an informed decision to live a healthy life. Some choose to ignore labeling altogether until they develop a serious health issue. It would seem that if “the people” in our current watered down form of Democracy count then the wishes of the 76% of Vermonters who took the Bill Doyle survey who… Read more »
Cheryl Payne
2 years 9 months ago

The FDA requires only a 3 month testing on animals to see if the chemicals used for GMO’s are lethal.The animals are contracting tumors and other diseases after a longer period of being fed a GE diet.So yes we are eating GE foods thru the animals and their milk.The animals need to be fed a non-gmo diet just like humans.Check out

randall wood
2 years 9 months ago

Excellent progress and Thank You. – looks like the first solid nail in the door that will keep GMO folly shut out once and for all.

Robert Wager
2 years 9 months ago
Jason Wells
2 years 9 months ago
The vast majority of Vermonters have sided with GMO labeling. Its not like we don”t know that Montsanto etc is going to try to stop it. Quite frankly the cost is irrelevant to the issue. The people have spoken and now it is time for our Elected Officials to stand up and tear up this bill then rewrite it to take effect in one year with no exemptions period. Heck when Monstanto comes knocking let the VT Law School defend it. I bet they would take it for free. I am sure the Law School would have better results and… Read more »
Robert Wager
2 years 9 months ago
Paula Schramm
2 years 9 months ago
This link is from Chubb Groups Insurance and has a banner ad across the top “BioTech Now”… that’s interesting. The article is announcing the American Medical Association’s decision to oppose labeling of GE foods : “Our AMA believes that as of June 2012, there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and that voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education.” This raise all sorts of questions in my mind : What is meant by “special” labeling ? How about just plain LABELING ? What is meant by “focused”… Read more »
Gladys Rhoads
2 years 9 months ago

the chemicals they put on our grains and fruits and vegs. are making so many of us sick. I almost died from what is put on wheat until my granddaugther told me she has a friend that was (allergic) to wheat and now I eat nothing that has wheat in it and am finding about 6 other products I can not eat or drink as they make me very ill, I fully believe it is the chemicals added to the seeds.

Winslow Wilson
2 years 9 months ago
Obviously GMO’s are very dangerous if the big manufacturers in the bio-tech industries are frightened that the general public might easily recognize the contents of food through proper labeling. It is up to us to make sure the USA general public gets informed. I make it a point that every time I am in a grocery store to inform at least one person to not eat GMO foods. I tell them, “You are what you eat.” Then I ask them “Do you want a chemical corporation that believes in Profit at any cost to go in and experiment on the… Read more »
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