By Stephanie Strom
Nearly all food labels in Vermont are now required to disclose when products include genetically engineered ingredients. The requirement, passed two years ago, became effective on Friday.
The rule is the first of its kind in the United States, and although it applies only within the tiny state, it is having national impact.
Most major food and beverage companies have already added language to their labels to meet the new rule, rather than deal with the logistical hassle of having separate labels for different states. Campbell Soup was the first big company to say it would label all of its products, and General Mills, ConAgra, Mars and Kellogg’s followed.
But not all the same products will definitely be on shelves. Coca-Cola said some of its less popular brands may not be available in Vermont right away. (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero will be available.) And the trade association representing the major food companies has remained staunchly opposed to Vermont’s regulation. It has pushed action from Congress, so far unsuccessfully, that would apply to all 50 states. Proponents of the new labels also want a national standard.
Here is what you need to know about the Vermont law and the continuing battle over food labels.
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