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Proposed legislation in Vermont could soon require foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as such. Known as the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, the bill would go into effect in 2014 and apply to food sold in retail stores.
Right now, the only way to know if a food does not contain genetically modified ingredients is to buy organic; to some extent, the Non-GMO Project label helps as well, although that can be imperfect.
Other states are backing similar efforts—including California, Connecticut, and Washington—but the Vermont law is said to be unique in that it would also prohibit "natural" claims on labels of foods that are genetically modified. There is currently no law that regulates, with the exception of meat, how the word "natural" is used on labels.
The bill could have big implications for food labeling and how we do our grocery shopping. An estimated 85 percent of U.S. corn and 91 percent of soybeans are genetically engineered, as are more than 70 percent of the processed foods in this country.
Dr. Mercola explains the significance of this kind of legislation:
Mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of GM foods in the U.S. because while GM seeds are banned in several European countries such as Hungary, Germany and Ireland, in the United States, certain states are passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion! At present, no less than 14 states have passed such legislation.
Michigan is one such state, with a bill that would completely prohibit local governments from adopting and enforcing ordinances like the ones being considered by Vermont.