Home » Food Industry Calls On House To Pass GMO Labeling Solution This Week

Food Industry Calls On House To Pass GMO Labeling Solution This Week


Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 11:38 am

On July 1, Vermont officially became the first state to implement a mandatory GMO labeling law, with negative consequences for consumers and small businesses already being felt as consumers are facing increasingly empty shelves in the state. Further, consumers, farmers and businesses in other states could feel the consequences of lost sales in Vermont, which ultimately could lead to lost jobs.

Various news sources throughout Vermont reported on the impact of the labeling mandate:

  • Burlington Free Press: “Jeff Kaufman disappeared into the kitchen of his immaculate 19th-century home on North Willard Avenue and returned to the formal dining room with a kosher frozen pizza in his hand. ‘I just wanted to show you the products that will be affected,’ Kaufman, an observant Jew, said. ‘We get this from Price Chopper. If we don’t grab it and put it in the freezer, we’re not going to have it. It’s a small company and they’re not going to change for this small observant community in Vermont.’ Kaufman was referring to Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which went into effect July 1, and appears to be forcing kosher foods off store shelves as the small companies that manufacture the foods decide not to relabel their packaging just for Vermont. On July 1, Kaufman discussed the kosher situation with a manager at Price Chopper who told him to ‘go to aisle 11 where kosher dry good are, if there’s anything there you use or like pick it up, because it’s going to be gone and it’s not coming back.’” (Dan D’Ambrosio, “New GMO Law Makes Kosher Foods Harder To Find,” Burlington Free Press, 7/10/16)
  • Politico Morning Ag: “New Hampshire shouldn’t be surprised to see a rush on its Utz and Wise chips and snacks, as well as drinks from Lipton and Schweppes. Stocks of each are among roughly 3,000 products that have been removed from shelves in Vermont grocery stores, because that approach was easier for the manufacturers than dealing with the state’s new GMO labeling law, which took effect July 1, Vermont’s Channel 3 News reported.” (Jenny Hopkinson, “3,000 Products Pulled From Vermont Stores,” Politico Morning Ag, 7/5/16)


  • Barre Montpelier Times Argus: “Rep. Corey Parent, R-St. Albans City, said the new law will affect his dad’s business in a negative way. His dad is a distributor for Little Debbie and distributes products to grocery stores. In an interview on Friday, he said the company is not changing their labels and instead are sending out GMO stickers. The company is requiring Vermont distributors, such as Parent’s father, to label about 7,000 products a week with the stickers. That means Parent’s father will have to hire a part-time employee, which will cost him about $20,000 over the course of a year. ‘That’s purely out-of-pocket for a small-business owner in the state of Vermont,’ Parent said. ‘That’s a significant amount of money. It’s either that or an additional 30 hours of work a week. That is the challenge that small business owners in Vermont are stuck with.’” (Gina Tron, “Vt. Leaders Herald GMO Bill,” Barre Montpelier Times Argus, 7/2/16)


  • WCAX-TV: “…retailers across Vermont got word manufacturers would stop sending 3,000 products to the state. Many popular brands from every corner of the grocery store will no longer send certain items, ranging from Pepsi Wild Cherry to whole wheat hot dog buns…The average Price Chopper sells 35,000 items. Losing 3,000 is 10 percent of their inventory, leaving some experts to worry whether less competition will breed higher prices. ‘You now have less choice for consumers,’ said Robert Letovsky, a professor of business at St. Michael’s College. ‘Less choice means less competition, inevitably prices are going to rise.’” (Alex Apple, “ Supermarkets Lose 3,000 Products Over GMO Law,” WCAX-TV, 7/1/16)

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a common-sense solution by a 63-30 vote that would create a transparent, consistent national standard for consumers and protect family farmers and small businesses from the negative impacts of Vermont’s law.

On July 11, more than 1,100 agriculture, food and business organizations and companies representing the entire U.S. food supply chain from farm to fork sent a letter to House leadership calling on them to pass this week the agricultural biotechnology solution that was approved 63-30 by the Senate with broad bipartisan support.

The letter, addressed to Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Whip Hoyer, calls for expedited consideration and the scheduling of floor time this week to ensure this bipartisan proposal receives passage before Congress adjourns for the summer recess.

“The issue of biotech disclosure is one of the most significant issues that the agriculture and food industry has faced in recent years. The U.S. agriculture and food industry creates over 17 million jobs, representing nearly 1 in 10 jobs,” the letter states. “This very system—which produces the most abundant, the highest quality, and the most affordable food in the world—will be threatened with large economic costs without a national uniform solution on this issue…. We strongly support S. 764 and ask that you schedule floor time and provide expedited consideration of this important and timely legislation. We pledge to work with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure quick passage of this bipartisan proposal.”

A failure to act will leave family farmers, small businesses and consumers stuck in a state of uncertainty which could result in higher food prices and even lost jobs.

Adding to the urgency, Congress is set to adjourn for its summer recess at the end of this week.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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