GMO Labeling Issues

Annie Gasparro reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “General Mills Inc. is changing its labels nationwide to indicate whether its foods contain genetically modified organisms, ahead of a Vermont law that will mandate it as of July.

“‘The complexity and the cost of having one system for Vermont and one for everywhere else is untenable,’ Jeff Harmening, the company’s chief operating officer of U.S. retail, said in an interview.

“He said he is still hopeful that Congress will pass a national law that would supersede such state laws, but the company had to move ahead to comply with Vermont.”

The article explained that, “Two years ago, the Vermont legislature passed a bill that made it the first state to require food makers to label products made with the technology. It stemmed from consumer backlash as some people raised concerns about their safety and environmental impact.”

Ms. Gasparro also reminded readers that, “General Mills’ decision comes after a federal bill that would pre-empt any state law on GMO labeling stalled on a procedural hurdle in the Senate two days ago, shortly before lawmakers left Washington for a two-week recess. Congressional aides were expected to continue the negotiations during the break.”

The Journal article added that: “The Vermont law applies only to packaged foods that contain GMO ingredients and fresh produce sold at retail outlets in the state. It doesn’t apply to meat and dairy products made from animals that consume GMO feed.”

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