Suppliers for the grocery chain Price Chopper will no longer be sending 3,000 products to its Vermont stores because of the state’s new labeling law for genetically modified foods, or GMOs.
Vermont now requires food companies to include labels on products to tell customers they are made with GMOs. It’s a law that’s backed by environmentalists across the country and is intended to vilify genetically modified products.
But Price Chopper shoppers are going to lose out on thousands of products, from Cadbury chocolates to Entenmann’s donuts to Pepsi products, because companies don’t want to pay the added cost of labeling the foods.
WCAX.com reports the chain “will no longer receive are Del Monte fruits, some Hostess products, some Chicken of the Sea, Sabra Hummus, some Heinz Ketchup, Sage Valley nuts, Bob Evans foods, Louisiana Fish Fry products, Sea Gold Seafood and some Starbucks products,” just to name a few.
“I think it has to be a federal proposal at this point,” Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott told WCAX.com. “I had advocated at the time that it was passed that it should be triggered amongst other Northeast states.”
“We shouldn’t be doing this alone. We’re not on an island. We have to be competitive with other states and other regions,” said Scott.
As Price Chopper tells customers thousands of products will no longer be available, Democratic politicians gathered in the state capital to celebrate the law’s enactment. Business experts said this will only increase prices.
“You now have less choice for consumers. Less choice means less competition, inevitably prices are going to rise,” said Robert Letovsky, a business professor at St. Michael’s College. “I’m concerned about the impact of this on working families, retirees, pensioners, young people who are already facing an affordability crisis here in Vermont.”
Environmentalists and food activists have been pushing for GMO labeling laws in states and at the federal level. Activists say they want consumers to be aware if the products they buy are made with GMOs, but labeling can also come with a negative connotation.
Greenpeace has been a major opponent of GMOs, even working to ban GMO crops in poor countries. Its activism has attracted the attention of prominent scientists who want the group to stop.
A group of 108 Nobel laureates recently signed an open letter to Greenpeace, criticizing the group’s anti-GMO activism.
“Greenpeace and their allies have claimed falsely that GMOS are dangerous, untested and inadequately regulated,” the laureates wrote. “But the science telling us GM crops and foods are safe has been confirmed by vast experience.”
“Humans have eaten hundreds of billions of GM based meals in the past 20 years without a single case of any problems resulting from GM,” the laureates wrote. “More than a hundred billion livestock animals ate GM feed from 1996 through 2011, during which the average health of livestock animals improved.”
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