President Signs National GMO Labeling Law, Nullifying Vermont Law

Aug 1, 2016

President Barack Obama signed the federal GMO labeling law on Friday. The national law mandates that food manufacturers label most foods with GMO ingredients. 

It has been criticized by supporters of Vermont's law and others for allowing food manufacturers the option to use a scannable bar code instead of a text label.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has two years to write the new rules, but Vermont's law is nullified immediately.

"Honoring consumers’ right to know is the heart and soul of Vermont’s law. Letting powerful corporate interests get by with doing as little as possible is the motivation behind this so-called 'deal,'" says Sen. Patrick Leahy in an email statement.

"I remain concerned that this is a very bad deal for consumers." 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who drafted the bill, say that creating a national law helps avoid a patchwork approach to labeling rules.

Vermont's Attorney General has said that his office researched various options, but as of late July had decided not to sue the federal government over its labeling law.

Read comments from Attorney General William Sorrell and see how the federal labeling law differs from Vermont's law here. Read in-depth explanations of different GMO food labels mean here.