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Vermont’s Agriculture Secretary Won’t Support GMO Bill In Legislature

Vermont’s top agriculture official is backing the labeling of genetically modified foods in theory, but he doesn’t support a bill currently in the Legislature that would make the idea law.

Vermont’s House Agriculture Committee has been taking testimony on a bill that would require foods containing GMO materials to be labeled.

Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross said the governor’s administration agrees that people should be able to know whether GMOs are in their food but he says the threat of lawsuit makes the current legislation untenable. “We are not supportive of the legislation passing because we don’t see that it’s structured in a way right now that would be able to sustain a lawsuit,” Ross told VPR’s Vermont Edition Monday. “We don’t want to engage in a lawsuit that’s going to cost a lot of money that we know we’re going to lose on the front end.”

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2 comments to Vermont’s Agriculture Secretary Won’t Support GMO Bill In Legislature

  • Jar

    he would be planting corn one year and peatnus the next, rotating the crops. I don’t really know where his seed comes from. I was already sad that the trees were gone but totally accepted that it was his property to do with as he liked, but I feel that this is a threat to all our health and well-being. When I have sent letters to my Senators and congressman there reply is that the population of the world is increasing and we have to feed everyone, and that GMOs have been tested and are safe. It’s a huge problem for all of us, we must stand together on this.

    • Sherri

      Thanks so much for your interest in and acstiivm on this issue. Everyone who is working on the Vt Right To Know GMO Food Labeling campaign appreciates it. I wanted to respond to a couple of your points and maybe provide some answers to your questions. First, we don’t know yet when the bill will go to the Judiciary Committee. That is something that is completely under the control of the legislators, in particular the Chair and Co-Chair of the Ag Committee and there isn’t much we can do to influence the timing. The Hse Ag Committee still has to hold their vote on the bill and as of this afternoon they weren’t saying when that would be.Regarding Chuck Ross’ comment about the language of the bill, there is no perfect language because the bio-tech industry has made it very clear that they will sue the State of Vermont no matter how the bill is written and they will sue immediately whenever it is passed regardless of the effective date of the law which, as it is currently written, is not until July 1, 2014. My understanding is that the House Ag Committee is currently focusing on making amendments to the bill that will make it as legally defensible as they know how, with the assistance of lawyers who serve them through the Legislative Council. At this point we don’t have a lot of ways to influence the work they are doing.I know that this is SO VERY FRUSTRATING for everyone (myself included) who just wants GE food to be labeled but as they say democracy is messy.

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