Montpelier, VT—Vermont attorney general Bill Sorrell has formally adopted regulations implementing a state law requiring labels for genetically modified foods, following the passing of the bill by state lawmakers in 2014 after months of outreach and grassroots support.

These regulations specifically state that GMO foods must have a label indicating the product contains genetically engineered ingredients on the package where it can be “easily found.” Manufacturers must follow guidelines on font size and color. Unpackaged products will also require labels. Foods prepared and intended for immediate consumption, as well as Internet food sales, are exempt from these requirements as it currently stands. These regulations will go into effect on July 1, 2016, and manufacturers will be liable for compliance on January 1, 2017.

In a statement, the attorney general announced that he was “pleased at the amount of public input we received during the rulemaking process—from industry and consumers—and are glad that, with the formal adoption of this rule, we are giving ample time for food manufacturers and retailers to prepare for the law to take effect in just over fourteen months.”The law was also affirmed as constitutional by the U.S. District Court for the district of Vermont, fully denying the preliminary injunction motion brought on by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), Snack Foods Association, and other groups. The GMA had sued the state of Vermont slightly over a month after the bill was passed into law last year.  The ruling also granted Vermont the right to dismiss on several claims brought up in the motion. George Kimbrell, senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety and counsel in the case, said that the ruling “affirms the constitutionality of genetically engineered food labeling, as well as the rights of Vermonters and U.S. citizens across the country.”

Posted on 5/4/15