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Coca-Cola Could Pull Products From Vermont Over New GMO Labeling Law

Mandatory GMO labeling takes effect July 1

Flickr/Mike Mozart

As Vermont gears up to implement new mandatory GMO labeling, the world’s largest soft drink producer is preparing to pull its products from store shelves, Bloomberg reports.

The new law, which is the first of its kind in the nation, requires mandatory labeling on foods containing GMOs. While the company’s top products such as Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero would stay on the shelves after the new law goes into effect July 1, some of its smaller brands may end up on a Vermont hiatus to delay having to make labeling changes.

Coca-Cola sells more than 100 different beverage brands in the U.S.; smaller brands include Mello Yello, Inca Kola, Pibb Extra, and Fruitopia, to name a few.

In the meantime, a lengthy and heated debate over GMOs has been brewing in Congress. A new bipartisan plan proposed last week in the Senate would be considerably less stringent than the forthcoming Vermont law, which requires even biotech ingredients to bear a genetic modification label. Instead, Congress wants to use a broader range of GMO disclosure method that could run the gamut from scannable QR codes to 800-numbers and websites, instead of just standard labeling on the product itself. The measure would also exempt meat and egg products from labeling regulations.

A federal law such as the one proposed last week in the Senate could preempt state GMO laws, including Vermont’s. Meanwhile some brands, like Frito Lay, have already started adopting GMO labeling practices.