For more than five years now, Ms. Stander has been working with other state advocates and legislators on a law that would require a label on most foods sold in Vermont that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. It has been a tough fight, with both supporters and critics saying the law could upend the American food system. Since passing the Vermont State House in 2014, the GMO labeling law has come up against legal challenges and powerful lobbyists, both in the state and in Washington, D.C., and has raised the ire of big players in the agriculture and biotechnology industries. But unless opponents in the US Congress manage to derail it – something they are still avidly trying to do – Vermont’s labeling law will go into effect July 1.
“The right to know if GMOs are in your food – it’s been amazing how this effort has brought people together,” Stander says. “It has been small-scale rural farmers who have been skeptical about GMO crops for years. But this has also been families and moms and health professionals. Food is really fundamental.”