Over 3,000 Grocery Items Pulled from Vermont Due to New GMO Law

“Overwhelmingly, America wants us to join the 63 other nations who label their food,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law took effect Friday. Lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, joined the crowd, celebrating.

“The Legislature did the right thing,” said Sanders, I-Vermont. “They had hearings; they discussed the issue and they passed unprecedented law in the United States.”

The celebration came as 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.

“If I were in a supermarket, I would be wary of what is labeled and what is not,” said A.J. Swan of Barre.

Swan supports labeling but admits he doesn’t know what effects GMOs have on humans.

“A GMO in the minds of people right now is negative,” he said. “I am guilty of believing that when I haven’t done the full research on it.”

“I’ve been eating them for a long time, it’s just that you don’t know the long-term effect,” said Marit Young of Montpelier.

Reporter Alex Apple: Does it worry you at all that if there is less competition, prices might go up?

Marit Young: I hadn’t really thought of that.

Coca-Cola was one of the first large companies to announce it was pulling some goods from the Green Mountains. Sen. Patrick Leahy says Coke and other companies will label more products if they see the law is successful.

“Coke sales are going down. If they’ve got something to help their sales go back up, they’ll do it,” said Leahy, D-Vermont.

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.”

The compromise GMO bill offered in Congress does not require a label, but would allow customers to use a QR code or phone a call center to get more information.

Vermont retailers have one year to sell their current inventory that does not have a label.

Source: AgriMarketing

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