- A recent meeting with USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the food industry, and public health advocacy groups regarding GMO labeling was unsuccessful, reports Politico. There was "not enough common ground" between both sides of the debate to emerge with a solution, according to Tara Cook-Littman, founder of GMO-Free Connecticut.
- Food and biotechnology industry supporters' proposal for electronic labeling was rejected by pro-mandatory labeling supporters.
- Vilsack has been quiet on the outcome of the meetings.
The clock is ticking for passing a voluntary GMO labeling bill or reaching another solution before Vermont's mandatory GMO labeling bill goes into effect in July. And with several other states debating GMO-related legislation in the coming session, particularly labeling, the Vermont bill could be just the beginning.
The industry is also becoming more fragmented in GMO labeling approaches, with GMA's SmartLabel and Campbell's commitment to label GMO ingredients in its products in the mix. Other major manufacturers haven't followed Campbell's lead yet, but it doesn't mean they won't in an effort to appease consumers.
A recent study showed that consumers value companies that include consumers' input in GMO labeling decisions, regardless of whether that decision is to label products as such. Those findings corroborate a GMO labeling study conducted last year, which concluded that a GMO label would not necessarily deter a consumer from buying a product.