Companies, Consumers Parsing GMO Food Labeling Laws
The older, state-level law was more strict, asking for full labeling of GMOs. So, are companies happy that they now just have to place a link on their labels? Maybe not. The Wall Street Journal contained quotes from several corporate higher-ups noting that what the public wants is clear and accurate GMO notation, so that's what they'll provide. Campbell Soup is voluntarily placing such information on its goods, and has voiced support of a nationwide regulation. Panera Bread has publicly stated that it doesn't want to take a stance for GMO labeling that others will have to follow - but it is highlighting any such ingredients in its own food.
That response, however, doesn't contain the full spectrum of corporate opinions collected by the news source. Wal-Mart Vice President of Food Safety Frank Yiannas believes that any labeling debate is premature, and the focus should be on determining for certain whether there are any ill effects of eating GMO-containing food. He, in contrast to the other corporate executives, puts GMO disclosure further down shoppers' lists of priorities, and stated that buyers are more interested in the prices and relative quality of the foods they buy.
A Stable Regulation
While there may not be universal agreement on whether it's a good idea to print limited GMO information on food packaging, at least the law is standardized across the country. Packaging Digest contributor George Misko pointed out that before the national rule went into effect, more states were stepping up with their own labeling laws.
Vermont, as mentioned above, actually passed its version. Laws were accepted provisionally in Maine and Connecticut and rejected in California, Illinois and New York, with the potential for more states to get involved. That's over now, as Misko specified that provisions within the federal version of the regulation make it clear that states can't introduce their own competing laws.