GMO Labeling Rules

On May 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its long-awaited proposed regulations for the mandatory disclosure of foods produced using genetic engineering (GE). These rules will implement the 2016 federal law requiring those GE disclosures, establishing many details on how the disclosures will be implemented. This federal law is the one that pre-empted Vermont’s first in the nation GMO food labeling law.

The rules are the final step in a decades-long process of demanding and securing GE food labeling in the United States at the state and now at the federal level. As such, public comment will be extremely important. The importance of comments is even further magnified by the fact that the USDA proposal presents a range of alternatives and makes few decisions, leaving uncertainty about what GMO food labeling will look like and whether it will actually provide the information consumers are seeking . Some of the more important issues along with suggested responses are detailed below.

Public comments on the proposed rules should be submitted

by July 3, 2018 via the Federal eRulemaking portal at

Comments may also be filed with the

Docket Clerk

1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 4543 South,

Washington, DC 20250

Hemp Pilot Program

On May 21, 2018, a bill was signed into law that will provide the opportunity for farmers to grow hemp and participate in a federally compliant research program administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Some of the features of the new law are opportunities to participate in research on cultivating, harvesting, processing, and marketing hemp. It also creates legal and simpler ways to obtain seed and other hemp genetics. There is also a provision in the law that will establish regulations for testing, quality control, and labeling of hemp and hemp-derived products. This bill also mandates a formal rule-making process for the implementation of the new law. While there are still many unanswered questions about the new hemp law, one thing about it is clear: Farmers interested in growing hemp and taking part in the federally-compliant hemp research pilot program must register with the VT Agency of Agriculture by July 1, 2018. To register with the Agency of Agriculture, click here.