Sen. Zuckerman admits labels don’t say if GMOs in food as bill heads to governor

By   /  April 24, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

Sen. David Zuckerman

While lawmakers in the state House on Wednesday voted 114-30 to require the labeling of genetically modified foods in Vermont, the bill’s top Senate sponsor admitted the labels likely won’t tell consumers if foods contain GMOs.

“There’s two possible labeling phrases: ‘does contain genetically engineered organisms’ or ‘may contain genetically engineered organisms,’ state Sen. David Zuckerman, Progressive Democrat-Chittenden, told Watchdog.org.

“One of the criticisms was, that by simply stating ‘may contain GMOs,’ the label is not giving consumers specific information. In other words, ‘Is it GMO corn?’ That would be important to some … I agree, I wish it could be more specific.”

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Minimum-wage hike could spell end for VT’s iconic mom-and-pop shops

By   /  April 23, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

ICONIC: Since 1850, the Wayside Country Store has contributed to the picturesque living that has come to be known as the 'Vermont Brand.'

As lawmakers in Montpelier, Vt., prepare to hike the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the owners of an iconic family owned general store say the added payroll cost could force their store and hundreds like it to close-up shop for good. As the most recent owners of the Wayside Country Store in West Arlington, Doug and Nancy Tschorn epitomize the iconic folksiness and small-town charm that lie at the heart of the famous “Vermont Brand.” In the mid-1980s, the couple left a past of furniture refinishing to carry on a tradition that began in 1850, at the general store’s first opening. But after three decades of serving hot coffee and warm conversation to locals, Doug Tschorn said he worries that Vermont’s family-owned mom-and-pop shops are on the brink of extinction. “I doubt seriously that we can survive a minimum wage hike unless people are willing to pay the equivalent increase in goods, and I don’t think they will,” said Tschorn, a resident of Sandgate, a small town located in Bennington County.

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Vermont senator: Anti-GMO defense fund sets ‘terrible precedent’

By   /  April 22, 2014  /  Agriculture, Environment, Environmental, News, Transparency, Vermont  /  No Comments

GMO BILL ON THE DEFENSIVE: Sen. Richard Sears says a special fund to defend Vermont's anti-GMO bill is not a legal defense fund.

A Vermont state senator who voted for a popular GMO food labeling bill now says the legislation’s $1.5 million legal defense fund sets a “a terrible, terrible precedent.” When the Vermont Senate approved H.112 requiring food producers to warn of potential genetically modified organisms, lawmakers also approved a special fund to defend the bill against possible lawsuits from Monsanto and other food industry giants. State Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, who voted in favor the bill, is now saying the fund will have a corrupting influence on state politics.

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Chamber leader denies Shumlin’s rosy jobs outlook, warns of death spiral

By   /  April 21, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

GAME ON: Vermont 'doubling down' to compete

Despite Vermont Gov. Shumlin’s rosy economic outlook, the leader of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce warns of a possible death spiral due to skyrocketing taxes and regulations. “If you look at job creation, there hasn’t been any,” said George Malek, president of the chamber located in the town of Berlin. “The workforce is leaving along with the jobs.” Malek told Vermont Watchdog in an interview that the chamber’s more than 300 members are being hurt like never before by taxes and regulations.

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Vermont prepared to risk $8 million over ‘may contain GMO’ label

By   /  April 16, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

GMO MANIA: Vermont is on track to become the first state to require mandatory labeling of suspected GMO foods.

A GMO food-labeling bill overwhelmingly OK’d in the Senate this week may not inform consumers about what’s in their food. It will, however, expose Vermont to a possible $8 million lawsuit. The Senate on Wednesday voted 28-2 in favor of an amended GMO bill that requires processed food manufacturers to label products suspected of containing genetically engineered ingredients. Despite the bill’s lofty aims, labels on processed foods will say only that products “may be” partially produced with genetic engineering — leaving consumers in the dark on whether foods actually contain GMO.

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