It’s been just about a year since Vermont’s Governor Shumlin signed a GMO labeling bill into law that is set to go into effect in July of 2016. Vermont lawmakers knew that in the interim between the signing of the law and the law going into effect, it would face legal challenges. In fact, written into the bill was an established fund to help pay the state’s defense against a lawsuit.
The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) and other industry groups brought the first lawsuit, and ABC News reports that a judge ruled against “their request for a preliminary order to block the law.” As of now, the law is still set to go into effect next year, but there’s no guarantee that it will make it that far.
The state asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit entirely, but U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss denied the state’s motion. Industry groups still have the ability to continue with their lawsuit even though their first request was denied. They almost certainly will continue the lawsuit.
Speaking for those who brought the lawsuit, the GMA said in a statement that the GMO labeling law will harm manufacturers and that the act is “unconstitutional and imposes burdensome new speech requirements on food manufacturers and retailers."
While industry groups are battling with Vermont, there’s also a battle going on in D.C. that would take away Vermont’s right, and every state’s right, to require GMOs be labeled. The DARK Act, introduced about a month ago, would not only make it illegal for states to require GMO labeling, but it would allow the industry to crate a voluntary labeling system and get rid of independent non-GMO certification.
If the DARK Act becomes law, who knows what will happen with Vermont’s GMO labeling law. I’ll be keeping up with both the battles in Vermont and in D.C. When there’s more significant news, I’ll let you know.
Related on MNN:
- Senator Boxer introduces Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, again
- USDA approves GMO apples that don't brown
- General Mills makes huge GMO statement