Vermont’s first-in-the-nation law requiring the labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms could cost the nation’s grocers up to $10-million-a-day in fines, according to a letter from an industry organization that is suing the block the law.
The letter to Gov. Peter Shumlin from the head of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said companies could be fined up to $1,000-a-day per unlabeled item — a can of soup or a box of cereal, for instance — that mistakenly ends up on store shelves. The law is due to take effect next year.
“Even with the best of intentions, excellent supply chain logistics and herculean efforts, product will be in the wrong place at any given time, resulting in millions upon millions of dollars in potential fines,” said GMA President Pamela G. Bailey.
She estimated more than 100,000 items sold in the state would require Vermont-specific labels, a companies could quickly amass millions in fines if only 5 to 10 percent of products slip through.
Shumlin had a clear response Thursday: “Just label your products. All of them nationwide.”
“The industry’s real concern is that as goes Vermont so will go America,” Shumlin said. “Plain and simple Vermont’s law is about giving consumers the right to know what is in their food. For too long consumers in America have been denied that right.”
Bailey acknowledged in her letter the association is trying to block the law in court, but until that happens it is working to comply.
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