This is the first installment of information and opinion related to our research on Act 120. We value your opinion and feedback. I wish it could be simple but because we have created a complex food system and supply chain it is anything but simple to know for sure and truly understand what is in our food.
We are in the early process of implementation of a new GMO food labeling law which takes effect in July of 2016 and food manufacturers in Vermont are scrambling. Truth is, because there is no federal labeling requirement the implementation of Act 120 will leave most food manufactures unsure and therefore “exempt” or else placing a generic “May be produced with genetic engineering” label on their products. We have always worked to maintain accurate and consistent ingredient labeling on our products and strive to provide as much information to consumers as possible. Because our chocolate is manufactured using soy lecithin as an emulsifier (which constitutes less than 0.9% of the chocolate itself) it is exempt from the law…but I believe this fails consumers. We have been trying for years to source an “Organic” and therefore non-GMO alternative to our chocolate and our corn syrup, but both are often unavailable or unreliable. Our priority has always been creating a delicious, hand-made product using traditional methods and quality ingredients at a reasonable price, which it turns out is no small feat.
Many of our products use fresh local dairy which is not certified. Some use flavorings which are all natural but not labeled as organic. We do know that the Domino sugars we use are non-GMO and we source an organic, soy free chocolate for our Chocolate Sunshine chocolate sauce and our vegan chocolates. We anticipate making changes to some of our products, specifically our truffles, to ensure they are GMO free, but it may increase the price to upwards of $60/lb or $2.75-$3.00 per piece. Would you be willing to pay more for a product made with certified organic milk that may not be local and non GMO-project certified chocolate that traveled from Seattle? These are the questions we are currently grappling with as we endeavor to decide how we want our ingredient label to read. Please let us know what you think.
As always, alcoholic beverages remain completely exempt from both ingredient labeling and GMO labeling regulations. I am eternally curious why people care so much about what is in their food and ask for nothing about what is in the alcoholic beverages they consume? I have looked at the prevalence of genetically engineered hops and wine grapes as well as the corn most hard alcohol is made from and wonder why none of these manufacturers are regulated under Act 120 but the 5 gallon pail of light corn syrup (not high fructose corn syrup) that we use to make caramel makes it necessary for our new ingredient label to read “May be produced with genetic engineering.” Please share your thoughts.
We will continue to update you as we make decisions and learn more about how our suppliers will respond to the new law and what changes we see in the industry as more and more pressure is applied by small manufacturers and consumers.