Continuing the process of developing rules to implement Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GE Food Labeling Law, Attorney General William Sorrell announced preliminary results from the questionnaire his office issued to solicit public input. The questionnaire, which was open from June 4 through June 30, 2014, received over 2,200 responses.
“We saw tremendous interest in this topic, with hundreds of Vermonters and people from across the country and around the world weighing in how they felt labeling should proceed under the law,” Attorney General Sorrell said. The overwhelming majority (more than 80 percent) of responses came from persons identifying themselves as Vermonters. And, while consumers made up the lion’s share of respondents, roughly one in five respondents identified themselves as farmers, processors, retailers or distributers.
Among other things, the questionnaire results indicated some consensus among these stakeholders about the placement and prominence of required disclosures appearing on packaged foods. A majority of each constituent group weighing in responded in favor of placing the GE food disclosure somewhere near the product’s Nutrition Facts label or Ingredient List. Additionally, a large proportion of each constituent group asked thought the disclosure should be in a font size equivalent to the words “servings per container” and “calories,” as they appear on the Nutrition Facts Label.
“Engaging retailers, producers and consumers about what makes sense to them is one important piece in our decision-making—along with weighing legal and practical considerations—as we craft the regulations that will put the law into effect,” Attorney General Sorrell explained. A summary of the questionnaire results is available at the Attorney General’s website, atg.state.vt.us, under the GE Food Labeling Rule link.