July 17, 2018

Vermont Asks Court to Dismiss GMO Lawsuit

Vermont’s attorney general has asked a federal district court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and other food industry groups over a new Vermont law that requires all food made with genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such.

Gavels“The State’s motion makes the case that Vermont’s labeling law withstands all five challenges to its constitutionality made by Plaintiffs and that the Court should dismiss the suit without requiring the State to answer the Complaint or engage in further litigation,” said Attorney General Bill Sorrell. “While the Plaintiffs prefer not to disclose that their products are made with genetic engineering, over 90 percent of the general public supports labeling genetically engineered foods,” he added.

The motion, filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, argues that the plaintiffs can’t show that the statute is too vague, that it violates the Commerce Clause, or that it is preempted by exisiting 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.

The plaintiffs have 30 days to respond to the State’s motion, then the state can file a reply before the court makes a decision about the motion. Vermont has also asked that the court schedule oral argument on the motion.

The GMA, the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers filed suit in federal district court in June 2014 challenging the law. The first of its kind law will go into effect July 1, 2016. After that, violators face penalties and further action by the Attorney General’s Office.

“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.

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