Herr’s May Yank All of Its Products from Vermont
Once a tiny family-run operation in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Herr’s is now a major player in the snack food market, with more than $250 million in annual sales and a distribution network that extends into 26 states. Well, maybe make that 25 states.
Herr’s, now based in Nottingham, says that it may pull its famous potato chips and all other products out of Vermont if the state goes through with a controversial new GMO-labeling law that is scheduled to go into effect on July 1st. That law — known as Act 120 — requires companies to place labels on all products that contact genetically altered ingredients. It’s the strictest GMO-labeling law in the country.
Herr’s says that it’s not opposed to sticking GMO labels on its products. What the business is protesting is the ability for an individual state to concoct its own laws regarding GMO labeling and says it prefers a federal approach that levels the playing field throughout the United States.
“For each individual state to adopt their own specific labeling regulations would require food companies to provide a different manufacturing, packaging and distribution system for each individual statement,” a Herr’s spokesperson told Philadelphia magazine in a statement. “The complexity and cost of such a system is impractical and unaffordable.”
Herr’s says that the company is currently looking into utilizing more non-GMO ingredient sources and explains that its potato chips are non-GMO. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which is suing Vermont over the new law, estimates that four out of five food products in grocery stores contain ingredients derived from GMO sources.
The Vermont law was passed by that state’s House of Representatives with a 114-to-30 vote in 2014. The powerful food industry lobby attempted to preempt the Vermont law with a federal bill, but the United States Senate voted against it earlier this month.
Food manufacturing giants Campbell’s Soup and General Mills have announced that they will voluntarily label all of their GMO products.
There is no GMO-labeling law in Pennsylvania, but the effort to pass one has been spearheaded by Montgomery County Democrat Daylin Leach.
“The fact that the industry is deliberately and aggressively fighting for the ability to keep relevant information from consumers about what they are feeding their families boggles the mind and should offend everyone,” said Leach in a statement.
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.