GMA et al seek injunction to stop Vermont implementing GMO labeling law until legal dispute is resolved

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Act 120 has some high profile industry supporters including Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen
Act 120 has some high profile industry supporters including Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen

Related tags: Gmo labeling law, Law

Food trade associations are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the state of Vermont from implementing its GMO labeling law (Act 120) until a lawsuit they have filed that challenges the law has “run its course”.

In court papers filed Thursday, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers sought to effectively ‘stop the clock’ until it is established whether Act 120 (which comes into force in July 2016) is legal.

They said: “To pacify a vocal segment of the population that opposes genetic engineering, the State of Vermont has waded into a political controversy and enacted Act 120, legislation that is both unconstitutional and preempted by federal law. Plaintiffs seek preliminary relief that enjoins the Defendants from implementing Act 120 until this litigation has run its course.”

They added: “Federal law does not require food labeling to also include [GMO] plant labeling because there is no rational justification for such a regime. Act 120, however, is not concerned with rational justification. It caters to beliefs and biases that a government has no business endorsing.​”

Act 120 has some high profile industry supporters including Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen

The GMA has multiple issues with Act 120, but its main argument - outlined in a lawsuit​ (5:14-cv-00117 ) filed in June - is that it violates the First Amendment because it compels manufacturers to “convey messages they do not want to convey​” and prevents them from “describing their products in terms of their choosing, without anything close to sufficient justification”​.

William Sorrell Vermont state AG cropped
William Sorrell, Vermont state attorney general

However, in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit,​ state attorney general William H Sorrell said Act 120 does not violate the First Amendment because the disclosures it mandates are “purely factual” and the law “does not require manufacturers to state a particular viewpoint, such as whether GE foods are good or bad”,​ claims the state attorney general (AG).

Unlike other state GMO labeling laws (eg. bills that have passed in Maine and Connecticut), the Vermont law (Act 120) has no ‘trigger clause’ and will take effect on July 1, 2016 regardless of action from other states.

As a result, opponents of GMO labeling have picked Vermont as the venue for a legal battle that will be watched by stakeholders in a raft of other states currently considering similar legislation.

Click HERE​ to read Act 120.

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4 comments

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GMO Food is NOT safe

Posted by Skai,

The proof: The American public gets sicker every year. Cancer, Diabetes and a variety of other diseases continue to escalate at an increased rate. Perhaps one reason is because the amount of pesticides that have to be used on "round-up ready seeds" also continues to escalate.

GMO food will not feed the world, one reason is because the world does not want it. The other is because statistics show that harvests of GMO crops are lower, not higher.

If this lawsuit stops the labeling law from taking effect in Vermont we will be in a mountain of trouble.

My fear is that Monsanto will achieve their goal of controlling all food seed everywhere, Scientists find out that GMO food is indeed killing us, there is no real seed available for farmers to grow non-toxic food with, then since most GMO seeds are sterile we will have a choice of death by GMO's or world-wide starvation.

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My Interpretation Of What's Afoot

Posted by R Andrew Ohge,

"...until litigation has run it's course."

Read: We want to sideline this, until we wear enough time and public money and interest down to make it's going away a "fait accompli".

The oldest Monsanto strategic trick in the book. The GMA has learned well from it's Master.

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GMO Food

Posted by Larry,

If there is no problem with GMO foods then there should be no problem with labeling. All ingredients and additives should be labeled as consumers have different sensativities.

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