We already knew that big business was firmly against Vermont’s new GMO law. The law requires companies to label things that have GMOs in them, which accounts for basically everything made by any big food company.
However, Coca-Cola is one of the first companies to show the ramifications of this law in Vermont. Ahead of the new regulations — which come into effect today and have a $1,000 per day fine attached to disobedience — Coca-Cola is removing some of its products from the Green Mountain State.
In a statement, spokesperson Ben Sheidler confirmed this: “To avoid multiple labeling changes, some lower-volume brands and packages we offer within our broad portfolio could be temporarily unavailable in Vermont.”
That is to say, big-ticket items like Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero will still be available with the new labeling.
Corporations face challenges in adhering to the new law. Because of the integrated way businesses are run today, companies are finding it extremely difficult to create a separate labeling system for the tiny, 626,000-person state.
As a result, companies are simply making nationwide GMO labels, replacing GMO ingredients entirely, or eating the significant cost in time and money to create a new, separate system for Vermont.
It’s easy to see now why the food industry is trying to pass a “compromise” bill on GMO labeling in Washington. Such a bill would nullify Vermont’s measure and, because of the wonky labeling rules, almost nothing would actually have to be labeled by big business. As a result, Bernie Sanders is spoiling for a fight over the bill.
All in all, it’s remarkable that the multitude of multi-billion dollar food corporations are losing an important battle to the plucky lawmakers of tiny Vermont.