May, 5 2016

Vermont State Government Takes Control of United States

The headline above may seem like something out of the satirical news site The Onion, but in fact it is exactly what is happening with America’s food labeling policy. Vermont, a small and out-of-the-mainstream state has now taken control of food labeling for our entire nation.

Vermont is home to only 600,000 people but is now set to dictate food labeling policy to a nation of 300 million – unless the Senate votes to stop the state’s GMO labeling law that goes into effect on July 1st.

In response to this law, American food companies are labeling their products sold across the country in order to comply with Vermont’s on-package GMO labeling requirements. That means Vermont’s law is the de facto law of the land.

What are the implications of this?

  • Who is now passing laws regarding the interstate commerce of food? Not the 535 Members of the United States Congress, as spelled out in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Instead it’s the 180 members of the Vermont Legislature.
  • Who is responsible for implementing food labeling in the United States? Not the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or its leader, Dr. Robert Califf. Instead, it’s the person who is bringing the Vermont law into effect: Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell. He was elected with 109,000 votes in 2014. That means approximately 0.0003% of Americans cast a vote for the person now overseeing our nation’s food labeling standards.
  • What standards are companies using to label food nationwide? Not uniform national standards laid out by Congress or a federal agency. Instead Vermont’s Act 120 has set the standards, definitions and exemptions that every company in the United States must now effectively follow.

It is absurd to think that any state has been given the power to determine national food labeling standards – and ultimately the future of American agriculture. Yet in less than two months, that is exactly what will happen if the United States Senate does not take action. American farmers and consumers need a workable solution – and they need it now.

Vermont Nightmare FINAL

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About the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food

We are a broad-based coalition representing the entire American agriculture food supply chain – from farm to fork. We are committed to increasing the public’s understanding about the science and safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and advocating for science-based policies that keep food affordable for every American.

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