Vermont Steps Closer to Passing GMO Food-Labeling Law

grocery2blog post by Hannah Solomon, History (solomon.179@osu.edu) for PLNTPTH 4597

I came across this article last week and it grabbed my attention, not only because of our recent study of GMOs in [PLNTPTH 4597] class, but also because Vermont will be my home for the next three years as I attend Vermont Law School.

A bill was recently approved by the Vermont Senate 28-2 requiring that all genetically modified foods be labeled in retail outlets. If the House of Representatives approves the changes made by the Senate, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2016. Writers of the bill, anticipating fierce resistance, have set aside money for future lawsuits.

Is forced GMO labeling a good idea? Who knows for sure. Arguments can be made in favor of both sides. Consumers have the right to know what they’re eating and the right to avoid foods that they believe to be unsafe. On the other hand, there is no evidence to support the belief that GMOs are not safe. GMO labeling will be a costly burden. Those who have not been educated about GMOs will avoid them because of negative media portrayal.

I’m assuming the authors of the bill took all of these arguments into account when proposing the action, and despite resistance from those who oppose GMO labeling, Vermont is well on its way to becoming the first state to pass a GMO labeling law. I’m glad I’ll be there to watch these events unfold first-hand!

Full article:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/16/us-usa-gmo-lawmaking-idUSBREA3F1KP20140416

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This blog post was an assignment for  Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

Sudden Oak Death Kills More Than Oaks

Photo: U.S. Forest Service

Sudden oak death is a disease of oaks and over 100 other trees, shrubs and ornamentals. Photo: U.S. Forest Service

It’s a bit misleading. Sudden oak death is indeed a serious disease of several oak species, but the disease also impacts over 100 trees, shrubs and ornamentals, making it a concern for our forests, landscapes and the ornamental and nursery industries > More info

Sudden oak is an invasive disease spreading in Northern California forests (and a small portion of Oregon), causing widespread death of infected trees.  Because the pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, infects several ornamental species, nursery stock in California, Oregon and Washington are subject to regulations for dissemination and sale.

It’s not hard to imagine the consequences if sudden oak death were to spread acroo\ss the U.S.  There are very few management or treatment options that are environmentally safe, practical and effective in forest situations.  Ohio State scientists are studying how to determine how many and which trees are likely to survive in a given areas, based on genetic markers.

The work is being conducted by Pierluigi Bonello, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at Ohio State, Anna Conrad, graduate student, and their colleagues.  Their work was recently published in Forest Ecology and Management (312:154-160).

Read more about their work in a recent CFAES news release > Will It Live or Die?