Vermont’s GMO labeling law doesn’t apply to lucrative cheese industry

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

This month, a contentious food labeling law went into effect in Vermont, requiring most grocery products containing genetically modified ingredients to bear the words “produced with genetic engineering.” . . . .

But even in Vermont, there are some key exceptions to the rule. . . .

Cheese is big business in Vermont, generating some $650 million in sales annually. . .

. . . .

. . . [I]n most cases. . . cheese ought to be exempt on its face. The only real hitch might have been chymosin, the rennet-like enzyme used to coagulate milk into cheese. It’s made by genetically-engineered yeast – or mold or bacteria – that are fermented to produce massive quantities of the enzyme. This technique was approved in 1990 as an alternative to slaughtering calves to extract the enzyme from their stomachs.

That might seem to argue for GMO labeling under Vermont’s new law, but the devil is in the details: Once chymosin is purified and all cellular material is cleared away, it is just isolated protein.

. . . .

In fact, it’s chemically identical to the rennet isolated from calves, says [said John Lucey, a professor of food science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison]. . . .

Read full, original post: In Vermont, Blessed Are the Cheese Makers

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