The Latest on Vermont’s GMO Labelling Bill

PHOTO CREDIT: Image found on http://www.gmoreport.blogspot.com

CAYENNE, FRENCH GUIANA- The state of Vermont’s campaign to become the first U.S. state to label genetically modified foods (GMOs) continues Vermont Senate Appropriations Committee voted, 7-0 yesterday, on a bill (H.112) that would bring Vermont one step closer to the mandatory labelling of all foods containing GMOs.

Now that the bill has received approval by Vermont’s State Senate Appropriations Committee, the bill is headed to the state’s senate floor to be debated upon early next week. The bill came about in early 2013 when it was introduced to Vermont’s House of Representatives in the Committee on Agriculture; and if approved, would go into effect July 2016.

Vermont joins the efforts of 23 other states who are currently in the process of approving legislation that would call for the mandatory labelling of GMOs such as Maine, Connecticut, and California. If the bill is voted upon by Vermont’s Senate, then Vermont will become the first state ever to approve legislation that makes GMO labelling mandatory.

With such progress seen in the Green Mountain State, one would hope that this would be the necessary amount of encouragement to convince the congress of the 23 other states who are in the active process of trying to make GMO labelling mandatory in their respective states to come to a decisive decision. And, the approval of H.112 will trigger the mandatory labelling of GMOs in Connecticut and Maine that already passed respective bills on GMO labelling that both states decided to not put into effect until other states took similar measures.

 

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Goodbye “Happy Hour” ?

Photo Credit: Image by Melanie Lehnen

Photo Credit: Image by Melanie Lehnen

WASHINGTON, DC- Who could ever imagine that those weekly beers with friends after work could intersect with agriculture? Well apparently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found a link, proposing a regulation that could ban the practice of “happy hour.”

Every time you as a consumer enjoy weekly drinks with friends, you are fueling the practice fondly referred to as “happy hour” in the agricultural industry. Whatever leftover grains breweries have, that is what they give to farmers all over the country. This practice that is more than a century old provides breweries and distillers with a way to dispose of leftover grain in a more cost-effective way instead of spending massive amounts to get rid of it; and, the cattle that benefit from these grains (wet grains specifically) are said to enjoy them. Yet, keeping the directive laid down by President Obama’s 2011 food safety reform law, the FDA proposes this regulation in order to increase the safety of animal feed and pet food. However, what seems as a good idea does not go unopposed in Congress.

13 U.S. senators led by Susan Cain (R-MA) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) are opposing the regulation, labeling it as a means to burden the breweries and distillers. Senators such as Cain and Cardin who oppose said ban come from states whose local economy is driven by breweries and distilleries. Amy monetary increase in the way that their state’s breweries and distilleries have to dispose of their leftover wet grain will have ramifications for their state’s economy, with the FDA’s ban looking to cause an increase of $43 million for breweries. But, these brewers will not be the only ones affected.

Well-known brands such as Anheuser-Busch would incur costs of $11 million to dispose of that waste and $1 million to train employees to test for such pathogens. Even from a non-monetary perspective, opposition comes as breweries argue that there is no reason for the FDA to introduce such a regulation as there is not precedent for it.

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