Rising tide

A young lady rode her battered bicycle up my driveway the other day in 90-degree heat and a million percent humidity, clip board in hand and an idealistic look on her face. There was little doubt she was a college student spending her summer collecting signatures for a worthy cause. In this particular case she was with VPIRG (Vermont Public Interest Research Group), a group whose goal it is to make every Vermonter aware of our state’s effort to make GMO labeling mandatory. That’s Genetically Modified Organisms for those not in the know.

In June, the Vermont House became the first legislative body in the U.S. to approve a bill that would require foods with GMO ingredients to be labeled as such. The bill will soon be put in front of members of the Senate with the hopes it will pass and become law.

It didn’t take our neighbors to the south long to trump us, however, and pass labeling legislation of their own. Members of Connecticut’s General Assembly voted to approve GMO labeling on July 1, but as I understand it, among other stipulations, Connecticut won’t officially require the labeling of GMO foods until at least four other states, including one along Connecticut’s border, have enacted similar laws.

Responding to these recent legislative milestones, several senators in Vermont have stated to various media outlets that all of these efforts are helping to build momentum and are bringing our country just that much closer to having a national GMO labeling law. As for the Green Mountain State, it is still too early to tell which way this will go, but lawmakers and residents alike are optimistic. Should the bill pass out of the Vermont Senate next year the law would go into effect July1, 1, 2015 or 18 months after two other states enact similar legislation. I, for one, am all for knowing what’s in my food and would be proud to see my little state become the first to require GMO foods be labeled.

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