MONTPELIER, VT (TIP): Standing on the Statehouse steps before a legion of activists, Vermont’s governor signed a new law Thursday, May 8, that could make the state the first to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms – and also could make it the first to be sued over the issue.
The law would take effect in July 2016, giving the state Attorney General’s Office time to prepare specific rules about the label. But supporters and opponents alike expect Vermont to be sued, possibly by food manufacturers who say the label would unfairly warn consumers away from genetically modified foods that they argue are safe.
“Today, we are the first state in America that says simply, ‘Vermonters have spoken loud and clear: We want to know what’s in our food,’ ” Gov. Peter Shumlin said, comparing the issue to other state laws that were first in the nation, banning slavery and allowing same-sex marriage.
“We are pro-choice. We are pro-information.” Even as Shumlin and some 300 supporters of the law celebrated, the governor announced a website – www.foodfightfundvt.org – and encouraged people to donate to help pay legal expenses in case the law is challenged. “We will win the food fight,” Shumlin said.