Beginning on July 1, Vermont will require that all foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be labeled.
This is but one of what appears to be a series of state laws regarding GMO labeling. Both Connecticut and Maine, for example, have passed laws that will go into effect once enough neighboring states follow suit. Several more states are considering similar measures.
"General Mills announced that it will voluntarily label all of its GMO food products."
But so far, action on the federal level has lagged behind. The Senate recently blocked a bill that would have preempted state action by creating a nationwide system of voluntary GMO labeling, and it is not clear if a new compromise effort will be ready for consideration by July. It is increasingly likely that food and beverage companies that do business nationwide will soon have to contend with disparate state labeling regulations.
Some are tackling this challenge with a broad approach. Recently, General Mills announced that it will voluntarily label all of its GMO food products, regardless of where in the U.S. they are being sold.
In a post on the company blog, executive vice president and chief operation officer Jeff Harmening wrote that anything less than a national solution is infeasible for the industry.
"We can't label our products for only one state without significantly driving up costs for our consumers and we simply will not do that," he wrote.
Given that as many as 80 percent of all processed foods sold in U.S. stores contain GMO ingredients, many more companies in the food and beverage industry may soon follow General Mills' lead. They will need a solution for creating custom labels.
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