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GMO label bill passes

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 21:04

 

In my last column, I encouraged readers to take a stand at the Statehouse in Montpelier April 12 for the public hearing regarding H.722, Vermont’s Right to Know GMO Food Labeling bill. 

The public hearing proved incredibly fruitful. 

Hundreds of Vermonters from all four corners of our tiny state gathered to rally and publicly testify in support of the bill, which requires labeling of all Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) products sold in the state. 

So many people packed the Statehouse that the House Agriculture Committee had to move the hearing from a smaller room onto the Statehouse floor to accommodate everyone who wished to testify. 

One hundred and twelve citizens testified before the committee, each one of speaking in absolute favor of the proposed bill. 

As someone who heard every testimony, it was truly inspiring to witness the inherent passion and truth in Vermonters’ voices. They spoke of the right to know what is in our food, and the protection of the Green Mountain State’s rich agricultural history and presence. 

The House Agriculture Committee voted 9-1 in favor of H.722 April 20. Since the public hearing, the committee has been adjusting the bill to make sure that it addressed the many reasons why people have the simple right to know what they are eating. 

Unfortunately, before passing the bill, the committee added a “trigger clause” that doesn’t allow the bill to go into effect until 365 days after a similar bill is passed by California, as well as two states in the Northeast. This puts the bill in a limbo phase and doesn’t make Vermont nearly as bold and badass. 

The bill will now move to the House Judiciary Committee, where it will be reviewed prior to reaching the floor. 

It is not likely that the Judiciary Committee will have time to consider the bill, however, as the legislative session ends in less than two weeks. 

This is also a bit unfortunate, but we have to choose our battles and count our victories. 

Vermont is the first state to combat this issue and pass a bill that mandates the labeling of GMOs, and that is worth celebrating. 

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