On July 14, 2016

U.S. Senate passes GMO bill pre-empting Vt. law

By Anne Galloway, VTDigger.org

The U.S. Senate passed a GMO bill late Thursday, July 7, that will require food manufacturers to provide information about genetically engineered ingredients. The measure passed 63-30.

The bill, S.764, allows companies to choose a text label, a symbol or a QR or bar code for GMO products. Manufacturers have lobbied for the QR code option, which would require consumers to have a smartphone and a scanning application to get information about genetically engineered ingredients.

The legislation pre-empts Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which went into effect on July 1. It also pre-empts a 2004 state statute that requires manufacturers to label genetically engineered seeds.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy both introduced amendments to protect Act 120, the state statute. Sanders’ provision would have required straightforward text labeling on products and imposed a $1,000 per day fine for violations.

In a statement after the bill passed, Leahy said, “The Senate GMO bill vote is a well-funded travesty, a setback for consumers’ right to know. They deserve clear labels, not scavenger hunts.”

The legislation now goes to the House.

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