Last spring, the legislature passed a law requiring foods that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMO's, to be labeled. That labeling will go into effect in 2016 and the Attorney General's office has been working to come up with rules for what the labels will look like.
The state has just released a draft proposal of those rules and is holding informal meetings around the state this week to get public feedback.
Todd Daloz is the Assistant Attorney General who worked on the new rules. Daloz said all packaged food that contains genetically modified components will have to have a label.
"What we are proposing is a disclosure on the label about the size where it says 'serving size' on the nutrition facts label that already exists on most of these foods. And that disclosure then would say 'produced with genetic engineering,' or 'may be produced with genetic engineering' or 'partially produced with genetic engineering.'"
Daloz said the attorney general’s office is responsible for making a label that will withstand legal challenges, but the office is interested in hearing from people who will be affected by the law as they work to craft a final version.
"We still need to understand an incredibly complex structure, which is our food system. And we think the best way of doing that is hearing from practitioners on the ground. And that doesn’t mean just Vermonters," Daloz said. "We expect mostly Vermonters to come to these meetings but we have an open comment email line where folks can submit these informal inputs before we propose a formal rule this winter and I think that’s an opportunity for national manufacturers to weigh in as well."
Public hearings will be held:
Tuesday, October 21
Contois Auditorium, City Hall
149 Church Street
Burlington, VT 05401
Wednesday, October 22
Room 11, Vermont State House
115 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633
Friday, October 24
Room 2E, Marlboro College Graduate Campus
28 Vernon Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301