GMA Seeks to Overturn Vt. GMO Labeling Law


The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), together with the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers, has filed a complaint in federal district court in Vermont, challenging the state’s mandatory GMO labeling law.

"Vermont's mandatory GMO labeling law … is a costly and misguided measure that will set the nation on a path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies that do nothing to advance the health and safety of consumers," the Washington, D.C.-based trade organization noted.

According to GMA, the law "imposes burdensome new speech requirements -- and restrictions -- that will affect, by Vermont's count, eight out of every 10 foods at the grocery store. Yet Vermont has effectively conceded this law has no basis in health, safety or science. That is why a number of product categories, including milk, meat, restaurant items and alcohol, are exempt from the law. This means that many foods containing GMO ingredients will not actually disclose that fact."

Pointing out that "the Constitution prohibits Vermont from regulating nationwide distribution and labeling practices that facilitate interstate commerce," GMA noted that such power "is the sole province of the federal government. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have both the mandate and expertise to incorporate the views of all the stakeholders at each link in the chain from farm to fork."

The Vermont legislation was signed into law last month by Gov. Peter Shumlin on the steps of the state house in the capital city of Montpelier. Shortly afterward, GMA revealed its intent to file suit in federal court to overturn the law.

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