Montpelier, VT—As it gets set to develop rules concerning genetically modified food (GMO) labeling, Vermont has asked its citizens to weigh in. The state’s Attorney General, William Sorrell, announced preliminary results from the over 2,200 responses to a questionnaire his office issued in June. The survey asked people how they thought the nation’s first mandatory GMO labeling law, which Vermont passed in May, should be implemented.
Over 80% of the responses came from people identifying themselves as residents of the state, and one-in-five sais they were either a farmer, food retailer, processor or distributor. There seems to be some consensus about the placement and prominence of the GMO disclosure messages on packaged food products. Most responders to the survey thought the required statement should go somewhere near the product’s Nutrition Facts Label or Ingredient List. Many answered that the font size for the GMO disclosure should be equivalent to the words “Servings Per Container” and “Calories,” as they appear on the Nutrition Facts Label.
“Engaging retailers, producers and consumers about what makes sense to them is one important piece in our decision-making—along with weighing legal and practical considerations—as we craft the regulations that will put the law into effect,” Sorrell said. The Attorney General is ultimately responsible for creating the rules that will put Act 120 into effect, and he will ask the public for official comments on a proposed draft rule later this year. A summary of the questionnaire results is available at the Attorney General’s Web site.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2014 (online 7/17/14)