The labeling of genetically modified food products is already making its way into the marketplace, even as the Senate stalled on a voluntary labeling bill last week. General Mills announced last week it will label its products across the nation that contain GMO ingredients to comply with a new Vermont law that takes effect in July.
The maker of Cheerios, Progresso Soups, Hamburger Helper, and Pillsbury pancake batter joins Post and other food makers in avoiding separate labels for separate states. It is the kind of marketplace action Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts had in mind when he unsuccessfully offered a voluntary labeling bill last week. “The responsibility and opportunity to inform the consumers falls on the marketplace. If the consumers want more information, they demand it by voting with their pocketbooks in the isles of the grocery store,” Roberts stated.
Consumers are getting that information with more food makers displaying a GMO or non-GMO label, sometimes inconspicuously in small type, though clearly visible and more transparent than what is called for in Roberts’ bill. “If the marketplace does not live up to their commitment. If information is not made available to consumers, then this legislation holds the markets accountable by instituting a mandatory standard,” said Roberts.
So while politicians struggle to address the issue, it may be that the private sector is already moving quickly to address the Vermont law without the help of Washington, by nationally complying with the rules set in the Vermont law.