Vermont has been making the rounds on the Internet in regards to Act 120 regarding the labeling of genetically modified organisms. Most who are in favor are proud of the state for taking a stand. We are in agreement that we should know what we are eating. But has anyone really read the Act?
As with all political documents, someone is usually the scapegoat while those with the power and money are provided loopholes.
Below is quoted directly from the act that can be found by a quick Google search for Vermont Act 120:
The following foods shall not be subject to the labeling requirements of
section 3043 of this title:
(1) Food consisting entirely of or derived entirely from an animal which
has not itself been produced with genetic engineering, regardless of whether
the animal has been fed or injected with any food, drug, or other substance
produced with genetic engineering.
(2) A raw agricultural commodity or processed food derived from it that
has been grown, raised, or produced without the knowing or intentional use of
food or seed produced with genetic engineering. Food will be deemed to be as
described in this subdivision only if the person otherwise responsible for
complying with the requirements of subsection 3043(a) of this title with
respect to a raw agricultural commodity or processed food obtains, from
whomever sold the raw agricultural commodity or processed food to that
person, a sworn statement that the raw agricultural commodity or processed
food has not been knowingly or intentionally produced with genetic
engineering and has been segregated from and has not been knowingly or
intentionally commingled with food that may have been produced with genetic
engineering at any time. In providing such a sworn statement, any person may
rely on a sworn statement from his or her own supplier that contains the
affirmation set forth in this subdivision.
(3) Any processed food which would be subject to subsection 3043(a) of
this title solely because it includes one or more processing aids or enzymes
produced with genetic engineering.
(4) Any beverage that is subject to the provisions of Title 7.
(5) Any processed food that would be subject to subsection 3043(a) of
this title solely because it includes one or more materials that have been
produced with genetic engineering, provided that the genetically engineered
materials in the aggregate do not account for more than 0.9 percent of the total
weight of the processed food.
(7) Food that is not packaged for retail sale and that is:
(A) a processed food prepared and intended for immediate human
(B) served, sold, or otherwise provided in any restaurant or other
food establishment, as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 4301, that is primarily engaged
in the sale of food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption.
(8) Medical food, as that term is defined in 21 U.S.C. § 360ee(b)(3).
Examining the exceptions, we find that animals are non-GMO even if they have been fed genetically modified feeds or have been treated with genetically modified medications and are not required to be labeled as GMO.
Additionally, we find that products produced with enzymes that are genetically modified do not require labeling. A small search of such products yields a result that is quite shocking – cheese and cheese manufacturing. Therefore a pre-packaged cheese product (such as cheddar) which is manufacturing utilizing genetically modified enzymes is not required to be labeled as genetically modified.
Next, we note that any beverage that is subject to title 7 does not required to be labeled. Title seven is in regard to alcoholic beverages.
And if you go to a restaurant or purchase take out from a restaurant, you will note that all of the foods you purchase are not required to be non-GMO and additionally do not require labeling or any sort of notification as such. Any food to be purchased and consumed on-site is not required to be labeled, including Fair foods and food carts.
Finally, medical food (foods provided to patients that is to be eaten on-site) is not required to be labeled. So those that we are treating to make them better are fed whatever the hospital deems appropriate.
I’m sure some will argue that you cannot be expected to label food that is to be consumed at the point of purchase (restaurant or hospital), but this labeling law clearly is not as ‘positive’ as most are making it out to be.
Those organizations that are deemed important enough to the economy of Vermont have their loopholes – such as local agriculture, cheese, and breweries.
As the manufacturer of a snack food that creates a value-added product utilizing ingredients that are produced by other manufacturers, we are feeling targeted. We do not have the money or the influence to indicate our distrust and distaste for this act as it is written, and joining any organization that is arguing the validity of Act 120 may be cause for many consumers to refuse to purchase our products. Such as what happened with Starbucks and Monsanto who are members of the Grocer’s Manufacturers Association (GMA) – of which the Vermont Grocer’s Association is siding with Starbucks and the GMA in the effort to eliminate the bill. So is the Vermont Grocers Association (and it’s partner, the Vermont Specialty Foods Association) in cahoots with Monsanto just like Starbucks? Are they going to be boycotted by Neil Young, too?
I find that this act is biased and unfair to value-added pre-packaged goods such as ours and many other non-agriculture based products.
I do not mind labeling my products as needed, but I do mind that a certain few (those that fall under the guise of the Dept of Agriculture: vegetable, dairy, and meat farmers and cheesemakers) are NOT required.
If the law is to be effective, then let ALL products be labeled.
I encourage you all to read the Act as it has been accepted by the Vermont legislature and decide if this fair and helps you decide what to eat.
Crew Chief – Rex’s Outrageous.