Vermont May Not Require GMO Labeling Anymore, but Companies are Encouraged to Keep it Up

Vermont May Not Require GMO Labeling Anymore, but Companies are Encouraged to Keep it Up

The Vermont Retail Grocers Association has advised members to continue GMO labeling on packaged foods, despite the invalidation of Vermont’s GMO labeling law late last month by the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill that was recently signed into law by President Obama.

“VRGA is advising members that they are able to continue to label or use their updated packaging, however it’s no longer required,” Erin Sigrist, president elect of the association, told Supermarket News.

The new packaging was expensive for members, who spent “a significant amount of money (…) to get in compliance for three weeks, four weeks at most,” Sigrist said, noting members’ frustration that the new GMO labeling law was not signed earlier, before they paid to create new labels.

“It would be great if the feds used something similar to Vermont’s law so that retailers who’ve already worked to be in compliance don’t have to change labels again,” Sigrist said.

The USDA has two years to finalize the exact standards for the new labeling law.

Several major companies, including Campbell Soup Co. and Mars Inc., told Consumerist that they will continue to use the labels that they created after Vermont’s GMO labeling law was passed. Other companies, such as Coca-Cola, had opted to avoid selling products in Vermont rather than change their labels; such companies will now be able to sell their unlabeled products in Vermont once again.

The Vermont GMO labeling law, which originally went into effect on July 1, was invalidated by a bipartisan GMO labeling bill that was signed into law by President Obama on July 29. The law prevented States from enacting mandatory labeling laws, but it did not prevent people from labeling GMO foods.

One major concern about the new bill is that it does not require the clear language that Vermont’s labeling law did. The new law allows certain companies to use a QR code or call a number in order to obtain information on GMOs, whereas Vermont’s law required on-package labeling.

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Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco