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GMO Labeling Hearings Begin Tuesday

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

12–2 p.m.

Contois Auditorium, City Hall

149 Church Street

Burlington, VT 05401

Wednesday, October 22

5–7 p.m.

Room 11, Vermont State House

115 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05633

Friday, October 24

3:30–5:30 p.m.

Room 2E, Marlboro College Graduate Campus

28 Vernon Street

Brattleboro, VT 05301

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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