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New Federal Law Overrules GMO Labeling Requirement at Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market

Farmers Market logo Dec 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2016

For more information, please contact:
Marcia Veldman, Farmers' Market Coordinator, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, 812.349.3738 or veldmanm@bloomington.in.gov

Bloomington, Ind.-A bill passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama last month will establish national standards for labeling food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The law nullifies a requirement initiated by the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market for the 2016 Market season that farm vendors at the Market clearly label all produce and plants derived from GMOs.

According to Farmers' Market Coordinator Marcia Veldman, the Market can, by law, no longer require its vendors to label GMO produce and plants. Rather, the new federal law directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to decide what food manufacturers will be required to label. The USDA is directed to complete the process within two years.

The Farmers' Market Advisory Council, a nine-member group that acts in an advisory capacity to Parks and Recreation Department staff on policy matters relating to the Market, in December 2015 agreed that the Farmers' Market should require its vendors to label all GMO produce, plants, farm vendor-produced value added products and home-based vendor items containing GMO produce. Veldman said the discussion among Market staff and the Farmers' Market Advisory Council about GMO labeling was driven largely by the demand of Market customers.

GMO produce currently available at the Market is limited to sweet corn, zucchini, and yellow crookneck squash. According to Veldman, only two of the 130 registered Farmers' Market vendors sell GMO produce.

"One of the greatest values of our Market is the chance every customer has to talk directly to the grower," Veldman said, alluding to the fact that the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market is a grower-only Market, with no wholesalers or third-party sellers allowed. "Anyone buying any farm product at the Market can talk to the farmers, learn about their growing practices, and make informed choices about what to buy based on what is most important to the customer."

For more information about GMO labeling at the Farmers' Market, contact Marcia Veldman at 812.349.3738 or veldmanm@bloomington.in.gov.

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