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Vermont's GMO Law Changes Labels in Maryland

A mandatory GMO food labeling law that went into effect in Vermont this month already is affecting all 50 states, including Maryland. (Veronica Carter)
A mandatory GMO food labeling law that went into effect in Vermont this month already is affecting all 50 states, including Maryland. (Veronica Carter)
July 5, 2016

BALTIMORE – There's a new warning on many of the foods you eat, a label saying they contain a genetically modified organism, or GMO.

That's because a new law in Vermont took effect on Friday, and it requires all GMO foods to say so on the label.

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, says the groundbreaking law may only be in Vermont, but it already has affected food sold across the country, including in Maryland.

"Numerous companies – Campbell's, General Mills, ConAgra and others – have already labeled thousands and thousands of products, now have this labeling on it because a lot of companies do business in Vermont,” he points out. “So all of those companies are having to comply with the law."

Many processed foods have had GMO ingredients for the past 15 years. According to Consumer Reports, no studies have proven any harm, but none has proven GMOs to be safe either.

The food companies sued in federal court to stop the Vermont law but lost. Now opponents are trying to put together a bill in the Senate to establish a nationwide system that would pre-empt state laws and require labels with a computer code that can be read by a smartphone.

But Kimbrell says that discriminates against people who don't have 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,” she points out. “And that's not who we are in this country."

Kimbrell notes that 63 other countries already have mandatory GMO food labeling.



Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD