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Vermont GMO-Labeling Law: ‘Harm to Industry’ Issue to be Appealed

A federal trial court judge’s April 27 decision allowing the state of Vermont to proceed with new rules requiring labels for genetically modified food is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.

The appeal was announced May 6 in a joint statement from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

gmocorn_406x250The groups are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit to block Vermont from imposing on July 1, 2016, a first-of-its-kind law to require foods with genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such.

Last month, the U.S. District Court for Vermont ruled against the industry groups’ request for a preliminary injunction to bring a halt to the implementation schedule of the new law. Vermont officials have issued the rule package they say will be necessary to implement the requirements for labeling foods with genetically engineered ingredients.

In rejecting the request, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Christina Reiss found that the industry groups only presented evidence of the “possibility of harm,” not actual harm. In her opinion, the judge seemed to indicate that if irreparable harm had been proven, she would have been inclined to grant the preliminary injunction.

GMA filed a notice of appeal May 6 and plans to file the actual appeal documents in the coming weeks.

The group says the Vermont judge’s ruling opens the door to states imposing food regulations based on “pseudo-science and web-fed hysteria.”

“If this law is allowed to go into effect, it will disrupt food supply chains, confuse consumers and lead to higher food costs,” said GMA President Pamela Bailey.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS), which has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to mandate the labeling of all foods produced using genetic engineering, said while the industry appeal was expected, Judge Reiss’ decision was an important one for affirming the constitutionality of such labeling.

“Americans are demanding the truth in labeling that citizens in 64 other countries already have. This decision is a crucial step in protecting those rights,” said George Kimbrell, a senior attorney for CFS.

Four states (California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington) have narrowly rejected labeling genetically modified foods, while two other New England states voted to follow similar laws if surrounding states also adopt them. Vermont is the only state so far to adopt a stand-alone law.

© Food Safety News
  • Peg

    Kudos to the state of Vermont for trying to protect its citizens from GMO frankenfoods!
    We who do not want ourselves and our families exposed to “better living through chemistry” may have to flock to VT. Of course, with the case now going to loony Massachusettes…….heaven help us all

    • Farmer Guy

      Everything you’ve ever put in your body is a chemical. Every vegetable or fruit you’ve ever eaten is chock full of carcinogenic chemicals. Your best bet for your family (and the collective IQ of our society) Is for you all to stop eating altogether.

      • Actually, Peg didn’t mention chemicals. She specifically mentioned genetically modified foods. And I find it unlikely that “every vegetable or fruit you’ve ever eaten is chock full of carcinogenic chemicals.”

        Perhaps you might consider that your own particular style of commentary doesn’t actually help your cause?

        • Farmer Guy

          Actually, Peg did mentions chemicals: { “better living through chemistry”}

          Happy reading! http://www.pnas.org/content/87/19/7777.full.pdf

          My style of commentary has nothing to do with the truth. You can either continue to base your ideology on naturalistic fallacies or wake up and realize that you are part of the problem.

          • I read that more as artificial manipulation rather than chemicals that occur naturally. And I still vehemently reject your assertion that all food is chock full of carcinogenic chemicals.

            My ideology? As compared to yours? OK, whatever.

          • Farmer Guy

            Thats the wonderful thing about science and facts. You can reject my assertion all you want but you cant change the fact that everything in the PNAS I posted is 100% correct. Im sorry reality doesnt suit your fancy.

      • Anna

        not big on the inherent value of human life, eh ?

        • Farmer Guy

          Absolutely. Thats why I fully support safe and efficient forms of food production. I dont support emotion-based hyperbole, however.

      • LogicPolice

        I find it puzzling why a farmer wouldn’t welcome a potential new market for GMO free product. Gosh you could have the corner on a small market and charge a higher cost with fewer inputs to bring products to markets. That’s just my thinking but then again, I am not an angry disagreeable old curmudgeon who thinks everyone else is stupid. Farmer, I am not sure you know what you’re are doing.

        • Farmer Guy

          There is already a market for GMO free products. People who are literate and can utilize very basic deductive logic can already seek out thousands of food items marked “Organic” or “Non-GMO Project”. Im guessing you are part of the camp that would like all food with DNA labeled in it as well? LOL
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/01/17/over-80-percent-of-americans-support-mandatory-labels-on-foods-containing-dna/

          Conventional farming requires far more inputs than GMO, please go read a book.

          And, i dont think youre stupid, I just think youve allowed yourself to be hoodwinked by a bunch of insane environmentalists and now you consider it your duty to spread idiotwebblogosphere-derived myths across the internet. Im just here to make sure the FACTS are presented. Hope this helps!

          • LogicPolice

            Thanks Farmer. Yes I am aware of the huge market and thousands of Organic growers. You see…I baited you. It was rather easy. So what you are saying is despite what the free market will support and regardless of what Soooo Many growers are doing and selling and benefiting from, you are still in the trench blastin away. Good luck farmer.

          • Farmer Guy

            What are you even talking about? Link to Soooo many growers going non-gmo? Its hilarious that you people read one article about a farmer that is going non-GMO (which means more applications of more toxic herbicides and insecticides) and now assume that all farmers are going this route. You also show that you dont realize how tiny of a fraction of our cereal/grain crops end up in people food (see: cooking oil). The “market” you speak of is less than 5% and only applies to farms in certain locales. Thanks for baiting me into demonstrating your ignorance on this topic.

          • LogicPolice

            Keep blasting away farmer. Keep adjusting your premise too. The market is huge and obvious to anyone with deductive reason To it’s tiny, regionally based and pointless. And let’s pick a topic while we are at it. Organic or non-GMO conventional or GMO. Whereas I completely agree, non-GMO conventional requires considerably more toxic chemicals we are trying avoid, Organic does not of course. However, production is lower, there is more waste and shelf life is brief. Alternative prevention may even cost more so may the end product ….and be less available and affordable to the consumer. But why-o-why does it make someone a reactionary imbecile to take a position other than yours? As with all market place decisions, when a consumer encounters the price relative to their budget and level of concern an education begins. Your vigorous assertion that anyone even considering an alternative is mindlessly adhereing to a trend is a false assumption…at least for many. We buy lots of things we don’t need but we do so to improve our lives based on the available information. It’s not always correct. Sometiimes it’s marketing, advertising, word of mouth, past experience or just a desire to try something new. So niether one of us is going to convert the other however, both of us are supporting a industry maybe even a tradition. I think I will be nice now. Good luck, good hunting and good fishing.

          • Allen Greenwood

            I just really cannot follow your statement above. I read it at least 4 times, but I can’t figure out if you are in favour, or against GMO – based on the above. Example: ” non-GMO conventional requires considerably more toxic chemicals we are trying avoid, Organic does not of course.”. Huh? Organic pretty much IS non-GMO conventional. How do you think that Organic does NOT require systems and “things” to prevent the bugs from eating your crops?

          • Farmer Guy

            Organic farming absolutely uses chemicals. They are even more toxic than pesticides needed in GMO farming.

            http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9923597
            http://www.t3db.ca/system/msds/attachments/000/000/953/original/T3D0800.pdf?1413587603
            http://www.southernag.com/docs/labels_msds/ms1040.pdf

            “Your vigorous assertion that anyone even considering an alternative is mindlessly adhereing to a trend”

            Nope, Im just pointing out that all of your reasons for these alternatives are based on fallacies and internet myths.

          • hyperzombie

            Yes I am aware of the huge market and thousands of Organic growers.

            Maybe a few thousand, but Organic farming is only 0.6% of all crop land.

      • Michael

        For everyone’s benefit, here are some useful definitions:

        chemical-a compound or substance that has been purified or prepared, especially artificially.

        whereas chemistry is “the branch of science that deals with the identification of the
        substances of which matter is composed; the investigation of their
        properties and the ways in which they interact, combine, and change; and
        the use of these processes to form new substances.”

        Now you see that Peg mentioned a science, whereas Farmer Guy wrongly concluded she referred to the substance.

        Speaking of chemicals, the main one I am concerned with in GMOs is Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s round-up. I don’t want to be exposed to an agent orange spin-off herbicide, I don’t care how many “scientists” tell me it is safe to consume.

        • Farmer Guy

          2,4-D and glyphosate are not even in the same class of herbicides.

          Everything else you posted is an attempt to avoid the subject at hand.

  • The GMA blusters to the press, but the appeal has to be based on the rule of law. What the judge has said is that the companies haven’t proven the existence of real harm, only the possibility of harm. For once the GMA is going to have to actually lay down facts, not hyperbole.

    • Farmer Guy

      LOL at the anti GMO nutcases claiming that another group bases its claims on hyperbole! Your entire movement is based on hyperbole and is successful only because our public school system has utterly failed our population.

      • I’m impress by how erudite your comment was. How subtly you applied the “nutcases” label. The graceful insertion of the obligatory swipe against the public school system.

        I’m slain by your wit, and overwhelmed by the style of your thoughtful GMA defense. Oh whoa is me, I should never comment again.

      • Right To Know

        Take the “GMO fear” out of the equation. I still should have a right to know where the ingredients in my food come from. If I don’t want my money to go to products from companies like Monsanto or DOW, then I shouldn’t have to guess at which products to buy. Science aside, I still have the right to know. Over 90% of Americans want this, and the government is in place to invoke the “will of the people”, and not the “will of corporations”.

  • ksubrent61

    “Four states (California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington) have narrowly rejected labeling genetically modified foods,..” No, Colorado laid the smack down on a labeling ballot measure. It lost by 2/3 of the vote. That is not narrow. Please get your facts right.

    • Goody FANFan

      Beat me to it. GMO labeling was destroyed in Colorado.

  • Allen Greenwood

    Very Interesting. It will be interesting to see what happens when a large percentage of foods in the grocery store are labeled as containing some sort of GMO ingredient. What will happen then? What will these people eat? How much will their grocery bill go up? How much will I have to pay to subsidize the people that don’t have the resources to pay for non-GMO or organic? I am not sure if Mr. Kimbrell’s statement is completely correct in the 64 countries have GMO labeling requirements.

    • oldcowvet

      Good point. My thinking is that most products will just go with “may contain” type of labeling
      Far easier than trying to segregate inputs. Or, will some products just not be sold in Vermont? Having a flashback to the Newhart show.

  • Rod Hays

    So,,,if GMOs are so safe and effective and do not propose any threat to individuals who consume them, why would they be worried about putting it on the label of the food that they sell?

  • Can you believe the creators of GMOs also invented Astro Turf? How did we lose control of our food supply? We need to take back control of our food if we are going to have control of our health. http://glocoach.com/2015/08/11/are-gmos-adding-to-toxic-overload/