The biggest worry weighing on the nation’s food industry may not be drought in the West, farmworker shortages or turbulent international trade negotiations, but a change in the regulatory code in Vermont.
Under a law signed this month, the tiny New England state, population 626,000, will soon require that food companies tell consumers which products on grocers’ shelves have genetically modified ingredients. In doing so, Vermont could force food growers, processors and retailers to upend how they serve hundreds of millions of customers nationwide.
The law puts Vermont at the forefront of a national movement that major food processors and agricultural companies are doing their utmost to kill.
Agribusiness firms and trade associations have poured tens of millions of dollars into political advertising and consultants to campaign against GMO labeling requirements and have enlisted members of Congress in a bid to outlaw state labeling rules. Industry officials have also vowed to sue Vermont, hoping to block its rule in court.