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Trump now says he misspoke as he stood side-by-side with Putin. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A Senate committee looks at the latest attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act; and public input is being sought on Great Lakes restoration.

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New GMO Labeling Law Faces Likely Senate Challenge

Some products, including M and M's, will be found with GMO labels on Bay State store shelves thanks to a new Vermont labeling law that faces a challenge in the U.S. Senate (M. Clifford).
Some products, including M and M's, will be found with GMO labels on Bay State store shelves thanks to a new Vermont labeling law that faces a challenge in the U.S. Senate (M. Clifford).
July 5, 2016

BOSTON – Consumer advocates are cheering the nation's first mandatory GMO labeling law, but they are also concerned the U.S. Senate is trying to dismantle the new law.

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, says major food companies sued in federal court to stop the Vermont law but lost.

The law took effect on Friday, but could still be killed under an agreement worked out by ranking members of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

Kimbrell says that deal would nullify state laws that require clear, on-package labeling of food with genetically engineered ingredients. Instead, he says the Senate would allow companies to use bar code labeling that could only be read by a smartphone.

"Unless you have the appropriate technology and you can afford that technology, it really means
food labeling for those who can afford it,” he points out. “And that's not who we are in this country."

Kimbrell says many big name companies, including Campbell's, General Mills and ConAgra, do business in Vermont, so they already have put GMO labels on many thousands of products that are being delivered to New England and all 50 states.

Opponents of the Vermont law are hoping to muster the votes for the Senate deal as early as this week.

Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, says lawmakers in
Massachusetts still are hoping to pass a GMO labeling measure in the Bay State in the final weeks of the legislative session.

"They have a majority of the members of the Legislature as co-sponsors and they just can't get the speaker to bring it to the floor,” she says. “So there are bills in this entire area that are very close to going, and I think everybody is just looking to Washington to see if these bills are going to be put out of business."

There are 63 other countries that already have mandatory GMO food labeling. According to Consumer Reports, no
studies have proven any harm, but none has proven GMOs to be safe either.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA