Vermont and the GMO Labeling Discussion

So what’s the deal with GMO labeling?

It appears that more than ever, the issues of health, nutrition, and transparency have grown into a strong, national conversation with Vermont taking the lead. From battling obesity to freedom of information, the American public’s voice has made apparent that there are new, necessary standards for food and agriculture companies to comply with. Among these ongoing debates is one that has created a rich conversation between much of the public and these institutions, especially in Vermont: the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. The VT law, H. 112 will take effect on July 1, 2016 and will impact the labeling of processed foods by every producer in this state. True North Granola is one such producer.

According to the new law, “Genetically engineered foods are increasingly available…and is estimated that up to 80% of the processed foods sold in the United States are at least partially produced from genetic engineering”. The new VT law defines genetic engineering as “…a process by which food is produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been changed through the application of: A) in vitro nucleic acid techniques; or B) fusion of cells…” (be sure to consult VT Bill H.112 for complete text).

This Vermont law argues that the process of genetically modifying an organism is not found in nature, so the safety of these new foods is an important question for all those consuming them. It it this safety, in conjunction with the principle of transparency, that the public feels they have the right to know which foods are GMOs, and therefore a right to choose not to eat them if they prefer. In fact, according to NPR, a 2015 poll showed that two thirds of Americans believe GMOs should be labeled. This is where the demand for such transparency comes into action.

Vermont has continued to be at the forefront of this national conversation, socially and legally paving the way for other states to pass similar laws. On May 8, 2014, VT Governor Shumlin signed Vermont’s GMO bill into law, making Vermont the first state to require labels on genetically engineered foods (which officially takes effect July 1, 2016). As a result, big companies including General Mills, Mars, Con Agra and Kellogg have announced plans to label such products on a national level, because Vermont’s mandate has made it financially and logistically necessary moving forward. This has been great news and a huge success for the Vermont Right to Know Project, as well as those who supported the bill.

We pride ourselves at True North Granola for baking delicious granola which contain no genetically modified ingredients, while also using local and organic ingredients when possible. With new labels currently being printed, we will confirm our efforts to maintain our approach toward using non-GMO ingredients. If you would like to have a conversation in person and try freshly baked granola, be sure to find us at the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market this Spring and Summer! You may also see us at other Farmers’ Markets in New England, including the Manchester, VT market on Thursdays, the Boston market (called SoWa) on Sundays, the Northampton, MA market on Tuesdays, or the Westborough, MA market on Thursdays. Check our monthly newsletters for dates of each market. You may also reach us at or by calling 802-272-0798. Thank you for your consistent support for True North Granola products.