Organic Consumers Association Statement on GMO Labeling Law Victory in Vermont

Vermont Lawmakers Pass Country’s First No-Strings-Attached GMO Labeling Law
Organic Consumers Association, April 16, 2014

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto and our Genetic Engineering page.

April 16, 2014

CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association, Katherine Paul, 207.653.3090

FINLAND, Minn. – Today, by a vote of 28-2, the Vermont state Senate passed H.112, a bill to require mandatory labeling of foods sold in Vermont that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The bill also makes it illegal to call any food product containing GMOs “natural” or “all natural.” Unlike bills passed last year in Maine and Connecticut, which require four or five other states to pass GMO labeling laws before they can be enacted, Vermont’s law contains no “trigger” clauses, making it the first “clean” GMO labeling law in the country.

The bill now goes back to the House which is expected to agree to the Senate’s amendments, then to Gov. Peter Shumlin who is expected to sign it.

Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), issued the following statement:

Today’s victory in Vermont has been 20 years in the making. Ever since genetically modified crops and foods entered the U.S. food supply in the early 1990s, without adequate independent pre-market safety testing and without labels, U.S. consumers have fought to require the labeling of foods containing GMOs.

Consumer demand for mandatory labeling of GMOs spawned a national grassroots movement that has persevered despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the biotech and food industries to lobby state lawmakers in Vermont, and to fund anti-labeling campaigns in California (2012) and Washington State (2013).

Today, consumers and a number of principled legislators in Vermont made it clear to Monsanto, Coca-Cola and other opponents of consumers’ right to know: We will not back down. This movement is here to stay.

We expect that Monsanto will sue the state of Vermont in order to prevent enactment of H.112. We also expect that Monsanto will lose, and the law will go into effect on schedule, on July 1, 2016.

We expect that the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a multi-billion lobbying group representing more than 300 food, pesticide and drug makers, will try to pass their Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014,” introduced last week by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), intended to strip Vermont, and all other states, of their right to pass GMO labeling laws. And we expect that Congress will not pass this law, dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, which seeks to deny consumers the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered, and deny states the right to enact laws designed to protect public health.

Vermont’s landmark victory today will force food companies to either label GMOs in all states, or reformulate their products to be GMO-free in order to avoid stating “this product was produced using genetic engineering” on their packaging. When Oregon passes a citizens’ ballot initiative to label GMOs in November, as we believe it will, the biotech and food industries will have lost, beyond the shadow of a doubt, their battle to keep consumers in the dark.

The OCA has worked closely over the past several years with the pro-labeling grassroots movement in Vermont. Today we congratulate Vermont activists for their passionate pursuit of this law, Vermont lawmakers for having the courage to pass the law, and Vermont citizens for being the first in the country to have the benefit of GMO labels on their food. And we reaffirm our commitment to work with Oregon and other states to pass similar laws, and to fight any and all attempts by industry and/or Congress to overturn these laws.

For press inquiries, please contact Katherine Paul by email or phone: 207.653.3090

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

*From Organic Consumers Association website press release:

Brigid’s Own Colcannon

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone and you know what that means? No, not green beer (ugh), but rather, good food. Soda bread, corned beef, whiskey, Guinness, and of course, colcannon. When you start with potatoes and cream it’s hard to go too terribly wrong.
Our Paddy’s Day meal for Monday Night Dinner was a delightfully raucous and well-lubricated (read: tipsy) event. Have you ever tried hard cider with a shot of Jameson’s in it? I highly recommend it.

In my household, though the day is in honor of St. Patrick, the colcannon is definitely in honor of Brigid, and I dedicate this recipe to her. (I happen to have gotten the stamp of approval from some discerning friends of Irish descent and I feel quite good about it.) Don’t be misled by the simplicity of this recipe, it is good. In fact, I’m strongly in favor of simple recipes made with quality ingredients. I’m also in favor of elaborate recipes made with quality ingredients, but the simple ones get made in my house more often. Yours too? Yeah, I thought so.

Lucy’s Cats

A friend of mine, QuirkyKnitGirl, invited me and a few other friends over to greet the rising sun on St. Lucia Day, December 13th. She’d made these traditional Swedish saffron buns called Lussekatter (Lucy’s cats), called such because they ostensibly look like a curled up sleeping cat. Lucia comes from the latin root meaning “light,” (the same as Lucifer does, so in some places the buns were called Lucifer’s cats), and they were eaten on what was believed to be the shortest day (winter solstice), with Santa Lucia bringing the returning light. Nowadays girls dress in white robes and wear a wreath with lighted candles on their heads, parading through town or at festivals to celebrate the light and Santa Lucia. There’s a whole lot more history and legend surrounding Santa Lucia, and you can find some of it here (I haven’t tried her recipe). Lussekatter are also made in Finland, Norway, and Denmark; in Cornwall they’re known as “revel buns” (I love that) and would traditionally be baked on sycamore leaves.

I’m a fan of saffron and a fan of festive traditions, so I immediately fell in love with them and was inspired to make a batch that very day!


As per usual, I adjusted and combined a couple recipes to get it just to my liking. My daughter jokes that I’m incapable of following a recipe exactly and I guess that’s partly true. I used to diligently follow recipes with obsessive precision (especially when baking) when I was a newbie to this whole thing, but now I have lots of opinions and I exercise them regularly.

My recipe sources are here and here (this latter one has great pictures).
Note: pearl sugar is usually used in Sweden for sprinkling on top because it doesn’t melt in the oven. I didn’t have any so I tried sanding sugar once and crystal sugar once; neither melts in the oven and both give a sparkly look that I like (sparkles!). Also, raisins or currants are typically placed in the center of each coil, but my daughter doesn’t believe in fruit in bread, so I omit that part.

When Life Give You Sweet Limes, Make…?

What do you do with a sweet lime anyway?

A couple of my generous fruit suppliers (the ones who gave me hella lemons for Hella Lemons Syrup) also have a sweet lime tree. While they were happy to have me take them, they warned me that the flavor was very mild and not to their taste, and they didn’t know what use they’d be. Never one to shy away from a challenge, nor one to waste good fruit, I picked as many as were ripe, all the same. Then I undertook research about the dismissed fruit, and what I found was fascinating!

The sweet lime is also known as Palestine sweet lime or sweet lemon. Native to South/Southeast Asia, it’s commonly grown in India and Vietnam; in India, it’s interchangeably called lemon and lime because regular lemons don’t really grow in India. The reason it’s sweet is not because it has necessarily more sugar than other citrus fruits, it’s because it has virtually no acid to lend the characteristic puckery bite, though it has tons of vitamin C. It’s also supposed to be very good for remedying morning sickness (pregnant women take note!) and the digestive tract in general.

akaa Palestine sweet limes

sweet limes

So that’s fascinating and all, but what do you do with them?
They’re often peeled and eaten out of hand (like an orange) or juiced as a refreshing drink in the hot summers (winters?) typical of south Asia.

Ok, but what do I do with them? Hmm.

I would describe the flavor as floral and quite delicate, pairing it with anything too strong tasting would simply drown it out. It occurred to me that it would make a lovely combination with mulberries (maybe this summer my baby tree will produce more than two!), but it’s hardly the season. Something to keep in mind for later, since sweet limes tend to produce year-round, but not altogether helpful now. Chutney? No, not enough bite for the chutney and the spices would definitely overpower the fruit (I’ll use the Tahitian limes for that). Syrup? No, too cloyingly sweet adding that much sugar and, again, that much honey would overpower the flavor of the fruit.

A nice delicate jelly! That will do nicely. Inspired by the delicate and delightful kudzu blossom jelly that a friend brought me from North Carolina, I’ve decided I shall make a sweet lime jelly and I think I’ll throw in some organic jasmine blossoms from another friend’s yard. Excellent. Now I just have to come up with a clever name. And juice and zest all those sweet limes…

Kaiser Speaks about GMOs

This article from

By: Salem Weekly Editors


“Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan, has made an official statement on GMOs (genetically modified organisms in food,) calling the topic important both scientifically and politically.

In our last issue, Salem Weekly described “What You Need To Know About GMOs,” an article we found printed in Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Partners in Health.

Because the author is not credited and the article itself is not available on Kaiser Permanente’s web site, Salem Weekly queried David Northfield, Media Relations Manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Communications & Organizational Research in Portland, to learn more.

Among other questions, we asked if the text of the article, reflected Kaiser Permanente’s official position on genetically modified organisms in food.

Northfield responded on November 25.  He said, “The article appearing in this fall’s issue of Partners in Health, Kaiser Permanente’s newsletter for members, was written by one of our nutritionists, and presents her views and insights on the subject. As a mission-based non-profit healthcare organization, we believe it is important to share information with our members on a wide range of topics related to health care and health, but we do not take an organizational position on every issue.”

Northfield went on to say, “Kaiser Permanente believes the ongoing research and debate on bioengineered foods, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is important.  We also recognize there are important conversations about related initiatives and propositions.  While we believe these are important scientific and political debates, we do not have policy positions on these subjects.”

Though Kaiser Permenente will not state an official policy on GMOs, the nutritionist-author of “What You Need To Know About GMOs” (who is not named,) described studies that showed significant physical damage caused by GMOs and listed ways its members could avoid them.

GMO crops, or biotech crops, are plants whose DNA has been modified by genetic engineering techniques.  The process is believed to have begun in 1982 to make tobacco plants hardier.

It has burgeoned since then; a 2011 article published by an industry publication claims a 94-fold increase in worldwide acreage between 1996 and 2011.

In their article, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications calls biotech crops “the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.”

Opponents to GMO foods organized in California this year with Proposition 37, which attempted to require food with GMO content to be labeled, and to prohibit from calling itself “natural.”  The Proposition failed on November 6.

Currently in the United States, although ingredients like peanuts must be mentioned on labels, foods with GMOs are not required to be.

Biotech and food corporations spent an estimated $39,000,000 to defeat the California proposition and hide their GMO ingredients.

In addition to a software app suggested by Kaiser Permanente’s nutritionist, Salem Weekly recommends the affiliated web site,

Meanwhile, an original hard copy of the Partners in Health issue, including the article “What You Need To Know About GMOs” is available in our offices.