Unless they are products they care about, or influence their state's economy. Somehow those are perfectly fine.
Vermont is a wonderful example. The recently-passed laws require foods derived from transgenic means to bear a label indicating their presence. Labeling proponents say that foods using recombinant DNA intermediates are dangerous, untested, and should be banned!
EXCEPT... if they are used in foods Vermont makes!
Examination of the public draft reveals the hypocrisy. It is written so that it exempts cheese from being labeled. The enzyme chymosin, the main entity of rennet (the concoction that causes milk to curdle) is almost exclusively derived from a transgenic (GMO) intermediate. It used to be derived from calf stomachs, but having it produced by a transgenic microbe makes a more pure product that costs a lot less. Bottom line, cheese making almost always requires a genetically modified organism to produce an enzyme used in production.
Wait! Isn't that untested, dangerous, and with no long term studies?
Here's how they get around the new law. Claim that the enzyme is a "processing aid".
1.16 “Processing aid,” as defined in 9 V.S.A. § 3042, means:
(a) a substance that is added to a food during the processing of the food but
that is removed in some manner from the food before the food is packaged in its
(b) a substance that is added to a food during processing, is converted into
constituents normally present in the food, and does not significantly increase the
amount of the constituents naturally found in the food; or
(c) a substance that is added to a food for its technical or functional effect in
the processing but is present in the finished food at levels that do not have any
technical or functional effect in that finished food.
And found under Exemptions:
3.3 Processing Aids
Processed foods that would be required to be labeled under section 2 of this rule solely
because the food includes one or more processing aids or enzymes produced with
Is Genetic Engineering Exempt Under These Definitions?
According to all definitions, the EPSPS enzyme in glyphosate-resistant crops is truly a "processing aid".
- It is required to make the food item and is removed before the food is in its finished form.
- It converts products to constituents normally present in the food and does not significantly increase the amount of the constituents naturally found in the food
- It is an enzyme, like the exempt recombinant chymosin, that has a functional effect on processing substrates that do not have any functional or technical effect on finished food.
The bottom line is that if Vermont wants to have any credibility in its argument for labeling it must also include labeling cheese made with recombinant enzymes. If the claim is that there's a right to know, then why deny consumers that right? They should know what's in their food, right?
Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to limit that right to know, when it is inconvenient to your industries.