July 20, 2018

GMO Labeling on the Ballot in OR and CO

Ballot measures requiring all foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOS) bear labels that say so will be decided by voters in Oregon and Colorado tomorrow. Proponents of these measures say consumers have the right to know which foods contain GMOs so they can make informed purchasing decisions. Critics say state laws regarding GMOs create problems for food manufacturers.

BallotIn Vermont, which passed the first such law in May, the issue has landed in court. The Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA),  the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers filed suit in June to challenge the law set to go into effect July 1, 2016.

“Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law – Act 120 – 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.  Act 120 exceeds the state’s authority under the United States Constitution and in light of this, GMA has filed a complaint in federal district court in Vermont seeking to enjoin this senseless mandate,” the GMA said  in statement about the lawsuit.

Vermont’s Attorney General has asked a federal district court to dismiss a lawsuit saying  the plaintiffs can’t show that the statute is too vague, that it violates the Commerce Clause, or that it is preempted by existing federal statutes. The motion also alleges that one of the plaintiffs, the National Association of Manufacturers, cannot show potential harm from the law and should not part of the suit.

Vermont is moving ahead to prepare for the2016 deadline. Two weeks ago, the Attorney General released a nine-page draft of the proposed rule.

 

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