TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
on Agriculture to which was referred House Bill No. 722 entitled
“An act relating to the labeling of food produced with genetic
engineering” respectfully reports that it has considered the same and
recommends that the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting
clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
general assembly finds and declares that:
(1) U.S. federal law does not provide for the
necessary and satisfactory regulation of the safety and labeling of
food that contains genetically engineered ingredients, as evidenced by
the fact that:
(A) U.S. federal labeling and
food and drug laws do not require manufacturers of food produced from
genetically engineered ingredients to label such food as genetically
(B) As indicated by the testimony of Dr. Robert
Merker, a U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Safety Officer, the FDA
does not have statutory authority to require labeling of foods produced
with genetic engineering.
(C) The FDA has adopted a policy regarding the
labeling of food produced from genetic engineering based on a
conclusion that these products are generally regarded as safe with no
material difference from conventional products. The
FDA does not require genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such.
(D) Instead of specifically regulating the
safety and labeling of food produced from genetic engineering, the FDA
regulates genetically engineered foods in the same way it regulates
foods developed by traditional plant breeding, but, according to Dr.
James Maryanski, FDA biotechnology coordinator (1985−2008), the
decision to regulate genetically engineered food in this manner was a
political decision not based in science.
(E) Under its regulatory framework, the FDA does
not independently test the safety of genetically engineered foods. Instead, manufacturers submit safety research
and studies, the majority of which the manufacturers finance or conduct.
(F) There is a lack of consensus regarding the
validity of the research and/or science surrounding genetically
engineered foods. The result is public
uncertainty about the nutrition, health, safety, environmental impacts,
and the proliferation of genetic engineering technology that is not
fully understood or proven to be safe.
(G) There have been no long-term studies in the
United States that examine the safety of human consumption of
genetically engineered foods.
(2) Genetically engineered ingredients are
increasingly present in foods available for human consumption, as
evidenced by the fact that:
(A) it is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of the
processed foods sold in the United States have at least
one genetically engineered ingredient.
(B) According to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, in 2011, genetically engineered soybeans accounted for 94
percent of U.S. soybean acreage, genetically engineered corn accounted
for 88 percent of U.S. corn acreage, and genetically engineered sugar
beets accounted for 95 percent of U.S. sugar beet acreage.
(3) Genetically engineered foods have an effect on
health, safety, agriculture, and the environment, as evidenced by the
(A) Independent studies in laboratory animals
indicate that the ingestion of genetically engineered foods may lead to
health problems such as gastrointestinal damage, liver and kidney
damage, reproductive problems, immune system interference, and allergic
(B) Trends in commodity agricultural production
practices are toward monocultured crop production, which may result in
genetic homogeneity, loss of biodiversity, and increased vulnerability
of crops to pests, diseases, and variable climate conditions. Genetically engineered crops are one tool used
in commodity agricultural production.
(C) Genetically engineered crops that include
pesticides may adversely affect populations of butterflies and other
(D) Organic food certification, which is generally
construed not to include ingredients produced from genetic engineering,
can be adversely affected by contamination from genetically engineered
(E) Cross-pollination from genetically engineered
crops may have an adverse effect on wild plant species.
(F) The proliferation of patented genetically
engineered crops reduces the options of farmers who may want to save
their own seed.
and other states do have the authority to regulate the labeling of
genetically engineered foods as evidenced by the fact that:
(A) Under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Florida Lime & Avocado Growers,
Inc. v. Paul, 373 U.S. 132
(1963), states may regulate the retail sale of food in the interest of
consumers where such regulation does not conflict with federal law.
(B) Under Holk v. Snapple Beverage Co., 575 F.3d 329 (3d Cir.
2009), the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the FDA policy for
labels using the word “natural” do not preempt states from regulating
the use of the word “natural.”
Supreme Court, in Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz v.
United States, 130 S.Ct.
1324 (2010), reaffirmed
the proposition, first expressed in Zauderer v. Office of
Disciplinary Counsel, 471 U.S. 626 (1985), that “an advertiser’s [First Amendment] rights
are adequately protected as long as disclosure requirements are
reasonably related to the State’s interest in preventing deception of
current First Amendment jurisprudence, expressed in National Electric
Manufacturers Assn. v. Sorrell, 272 F.3d 104 (2d Cir. 2001), states are free
to compel the disclosure of factual commercial speech as long as the
means employed by the state are rationally related to the state’s
(E) The decision
of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in International
Dairy Foods Ass’n v. Amestoy, 92 F.3d 67 (2d Cir. 1996), is
expressly limited to cases in which a state disclosure requirement is
supported by no interest other than gratification of consumer curiosity.
(5) For multiple personal, health, religious, and
economic reasons, the citizens of Vermont desire, require, and
necessitate that food produced from genetic engineering be labeled as
such, as evidenced by the fact that:
(A) Public opinion polls conducted by the Center
for Rural Studies at the University
indicate that a large majority of Vermonters want foods produced with
genetic engineering to be labeled as such.
that 6 V.S.A. § 641(9) defines “genetically engineered seed” as
“seed produced using a variety of methods . . . used to modify
genetically organisms or influence their growth and development by
means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes,”
labeling foods produced with genetic engineering as “natural,”
“naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” or other
descriptors of similar substance is inherently misleading and poses a
risk of confusing and deceiving consumers and conflicts with the
general perception that “natural” foods are not genetically engineered.
(C) Vermont citizens with certain religious
beliefs object to producing foods using genetic engineering because of
objections to tampering with the genetic makeup of life forms and the
rapid introduction and proliferation of genetically engineered
organisms and, therefore, need food to be labeled as genetically
engineered in order to conform to religious beliefs.
(D) Requiring that foods produced through genetic
engineering be labeled as such will create additional market
opportunities for those producers who are not certified as organic and
whose products are not produced from genetic engineering.
Such additional market opportunities will contribute to the
vibrant and diversified agricultural community of Vermont.
(E) Labeling gives consumers information they can
use to make informed decisions about what products they would prefer to
(F) On March 12, 2012, the Vermont congressional delegation,
along with 52 other members of Congress, sent a letter to the Honorable
Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the FDA, asking that the FDA require
labeling of food produced with genetic engineering.
(6) Because both the FDA and the U.S. Congress
have failed to require the labeling of food produced with genetic
engineering, the state should exercise its authority to require food
produced with genetic engineering to be labeled as such in order to
serve the legitimate interests of the state to prevent inadvertent
consumer deception, promote food safety, respect religious beliefs,
protect the environment, and promote economic development.
Sec. 2. 18
V.S.A. chapter 82, subchapter 3 is added to read:
3. Labeling of Food Produced with
the purpose of this chapter to:
confusion and deception. Reduce consumer
confusion and deception and promote the disclosure of factual
information on food labels to allow consumers to make informed
(2) Food safety. Promote food safety by allowing consumers to
make informed dietary decisions when purchasing food, since:
engineered food is considered to be generally recognized as safe by the
Food and Drug Administration despite a lack of consensus about that
fact in the scientific community;
evidence indicates that foods produced using genetic engineering pose
potential food safety and health issues related to allergenicity,
antibiotic resistance, immune response, reproductive problems, and
liver and kidney damage; and
religious and cultural practice. Provide
consumers with data from which they may make informed decisions for
personal, religious, moral, cultural, or ethical reasons.
impacts. Assist consumers in making
informed decisions about food purchases that have potential effects on
the environment, including:
of native flora and fauna;
(B) transfer of
unnatural DNA to wild relatives and organic crops;
(C) creation of
herbicide-resistant “super weeds” and pesticide resistant insects;
disruptions such as loss of biodiversity, increased herbicide and
pesticide use, and adverse effects on nontarget insects such as
economic development. Create additional
market opportunities for those producers who are not certified organic
and whose products are not produced using genetic engineering and allow
consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
used in this subchapter:
means a protein that catalyzes chemical reactions of other substances
without itself being destroyed or altered upon completion of the
engineering” means a food or food ingredient that is produced from an
organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been changed
through the application of:
vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic
acid (DNA) techniques and the direct injection of nucleic acid into
cells or organelles; or
of cells (including protoplast fusion) or hybridization techniques that
overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombination
barriers, where the donor cells/protoplasts do not fall within the same
taxonomic group, in a way that does not occur by natural multiplication
or natural recombination.
vitro nucleic acid techniques” means techniques, including recombinant
DNA or ribonucleic acid (RNA) techniques, that use vector systems and
techniques involving the direct introduction into the organisms of
hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such as
micro-injection, chemoporation, electroporation, micro-encapsulation,
and liposome fusion.
means any biological entity capable of replication, reproduction, or
transferring of genetic material.
food” means any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and
includes any food produced from a raw agricultural commodity that has
been subjected to processing such as canning, smoking, pressing,
cooking, freezing, dehydration, fermentation, or milling.
substance that is added to a food during the processing of such food
but that is removed in some manner from the food before the food is
packaged in its finished form;
substance that is added to a food during processing, is converted into
constituents normally present in the food, and does not significantly
increase the amount of the constituents naturally found in the food; or
substance that is added to a food for its technical or functional
effect in the processing but is present in the finished food at levels
that do not have any technical or functional effect in that finished
agricultural commodity” means any food in its raw or natural state. It includes any fruit that is washed, colored,
or otherwise treated in its unpeeled natural form prior to marketing.
4093. LABELING OF FOOD PRODUCED WITH
as set forth under section 4094 of this title, food shall be labeled as
produced entirely or in part from genetic engineering if it is a
for retail sale in Vermont;
or partially produced with genetic engineering; and
or partially produced with genetic engineering, but such fact is not
the case of a raw agricultural commodity, on the package offered for
retail sale, with the clear and conspicuous words, “produced from
genetic engineering” on the front of the package of such commodity or
in the case of any such commodity that is not separately packaged or
labeled, on a label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which
such commodity is displayed for sale;
the case of any processed food, in clear and conspicuous language on
the front or back of the package of such food, with the words,
“partially produced with genetic engineering” or “may be partially
produced with genetic engineering.”
as set forth under section 4094 of this title, a food produced entirely
or in part from genetic engineering shall not be labeled on the
product, in signage, or in advertising as “natural,” “naturally made,”
“naturally grown,” “all natural,” or any words of similar import that
would have a tendency to mislead a consumer.
The following foods shall not be
subject to the labeling requirements of section 4093 of this title:
consisting entirely of or derived entirely from an animal which has not
itself been produced with genetic engineering, regardless of whether
such animal has been fed or injected with any food or drug produced
with genetic engineering;
raw agricultural commodity or food derived therefrom that has been
grown, raised, or produced without the knowing and intentional use of
food or seed produced with genetic engineering. Food
will be deemed to be as described in the preceding sentence only if the
person otherwise responsible for complying with the requirements of
subsection 4093(a) of this title with respect to a raw agricultural
commodity or food obtains, from whomever sold the commodity or food to
that person, a sworn statement that such commodity or food has not been
knowingly or intentionally produced with genetic engineering and has
been segregated from and has not been knowingly or intentionally
commingled with food that may have been produced with genetic
engineering at any time. In providing such
a sworn statement, any person may rely on a sworn statement from his or
her own supplier that contains the affirmation set forth in the
processed food which would be subject to subsection 4093(a) of this
title solely because it includes one or more processing aids or enzymes
produced with genetic engineering.
beverage that is subject to the provisions of Title 7.
July 1, 2019, any processed food that would be subject to
subsection 4093(a) of this title solely because it includes one or
more ingredients that have been produced with genetic engineering,
single such ingredient accounts for more than one-half of one percent
of the total weight of such processed food; and
processed food does not contain more than ten such ingredients.
that an independent organization has determined has not been knowingly
and intentionally produced from or commingled with food or seed
produced with genetic engineering, provided that such determination has
been made pursuant to a sampling and testing procedure approved in
regulations adopted by the department. No
sampling procedure shall be approved by the department unless sampling
is done according to a statistically valid sampling plan consistent
with principles recommended by internationally recognized sources such
as the International Standards Organization (ISO) or the Grant and Feed
Trade Association (GAFTA). No testing
procedure shall be approved by the department unless:
is consistent with the most recent “Guidelines on Performance Criteria
and Validation of Methods for Detection, Identification and
Quantification of Specific DNA Sequences and Specific Proteins in
Foods,” (CAC/GL 74 (2010)) published by the Codex Alimentarius
does not rely on testing of processed foods in which no DNA is
that has been lawfully certified to be labeled, marketed, and offered
for sale as “organic” pursuant to the federal Organic Food Products Act
of 1990 and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto by the United
States Department of Agriculture.
that is not packaged for retail sale and that either:
a processed food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption;
served, sold, or otherwise provided in any restaurant or other food
establishment, as defined in section 4301 of this title, that is
primarily engaged in the sale of food prepared and intended for
immediate human consumption.
food, as that term is defined in 21 U.S.C. § 360ee(b)(3).
If any provision of this
subchapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held
invalid or in violation of the constitution or laws of the United
States or in violation of the constitution or laws of Vermont, the
invalidity or the violation shall not affect other provisions of this
section which can be given effect without the invalid provision or
application, and to this end, the provisions of this section are
A person who violates the
requirements of this subchapter shall be subject to penalty under
section 4054 of this title. Notwithstanding
any other provision of law, no violation of this subchapter shall give
rise to any cause of action under 9 V.S.A. chapter 63.
Sec. 3. 18
V.S.A. § 4060 is amended to read:
food shall be deemed to be misbranded:
(1) If its labeling is false or misleading in any
(2) If it is offered for sale under the name of
it is labeled in violation of section 4093 of this title.
Sec. 4. EFFECTIVE
In order to allow food producers
time and opportunity to properly label products in accordance with this
act and to avoid disruption in the supply chains of food producers,
grocers, and other markets, this act shall take effect 365 days after
California and two of the following other states have enacted
substantially comparable requirements for the labeling of food produced
from genetic engineering: Connecticut,
Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,
Pennsylvania, or Rhode Island.
FOR THE COMMITTEE