Health Highlights: April 24, 201404/24/14
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Vermont Passes Bill Requiring Labeling on Genetically Modified
Vermont is poised to become the first state to require the
labeling of genetically modified foods.
The bill was passed Wednesday by the state House, following last
week's approval by the Senate. Gov. Peter Shumlin said he plans to
sign the bill into law, and it would take effect July 1, 2016, the
"I am proud of Vermont for being the first state in the nation to ensure that Vermonters will know what is in their food," Shumlin said in a statement.
It's expected that lawsuits will be launched by the food and
biotech industries in an attempt to derail the new law. The bill
sets aside $1.5 million to implement the law and to fight any legal
"Every Vermonter has a right to know what is in their food," said Shap Smith, speaker of the Vermont House. "Genetically engineered foods potentially pose risks to human health and the environment. I am proud to be the first state in the nation to recognize that people deserve to know whether the food they consume is genetically modified or engineered."
In recent years, 29 other states have proposed bills to require
genetically modified labeling. That includes Maine and Connecticut,
but their bills take effect only when neighboring states also take
similar action. Neither of them are next to Vermont.
A number of surveys have shown that Americans overwhelmingly
support labeling of genetically modified foods, the
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a group called the
Biotechnology Industry Organization claim there is no material
difference between normal food and genetically modified food.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents food
producers, criticized the Vermont bill, saying it "sets the nation
on a costly and misguided path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO
labeling policies that will do nothing to advance the safety of
The association wants a regional approach to labeling. Having
different labeling rules in 50 states, "gets very costly, very
confusing and very difficult for the entire food industry to comply
with," association president Jim Harrison said, the
Ebola Death Toll in West Africa at 147: WHO
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed 147 people so far,
according to the World Health Organization.
More than 240 cases of the virus have been recorded in Guinea
and Liberia. Most of the cases and 136 deaths have been in Guinea,
while 11 people have died in Liberia, the agency said in a
statement posted on its website, the
The outbreak in West Africa is unusual because Ebola typically
occurs only in central or eastern Africa.
There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which has a high death
rate and causes high fever and internal and external bleeding, the
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