Vermont indicates enforcement priorities for G.M.O. labeling law

by Jay Sjerven
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Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrel
Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrel said beginning Jan. 1, 2017, all products must be properly labeled regardless of when they were distributed.

MONTPELIER, VT. — Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrel in memorandum dated March 24 outlined the state’s enforcement priorities in connection with Act 120, the state’s genetically engineered food labeling law due to take effect July 1.

Mr. Sorrel indicated “out of recognition that some food products have longer shelf lives, Consumer Protection Rule 121 (which implements Act 120) creates a six-month ‘safe harbor’ for foods distributed before July 1, 2016, and offered for retail sale through Dec. 31, 2016. During this six-month period, unless there is evidence that a manufacturer distributed mislabeled product after July 1, 2016, we will not bring an enforcement action or seek fines for those products.”

Mr. Sorrel said beginning Jan. 1, 2017, all products must be properly labeled regardless of when they were distributed.

“In exercise of this office’s discretion, however, our enforcement priorities will focus on willful violations of the labeling law,” Mr. Sorrel added. “Thus, even after Jan. 1, 2017, we do not expect to bring enforcement cases based solely on the company’s failure to remove improperly labeled products that were distributed before July 1, 2016.”
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