National associations representing food and snack manufacturers are suing the state of Vermont over its law passed last month that will require foods produced with genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such beginning July 2016. The lawsuit was filed jointly by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers. Together, those associations represent hundreds of food and beverage manufacturers, as well as pesticide and pharmaceutical companies. In a statement on the lawsuit, GMA called the law “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 association is also arguing that federal law “prohibits Vermont from regulating nationwide distribution and labeling practices that facilitate interstate commerce.” Vermont’s was the first “no-strings-attached” GMO labeling bill to pass in any state. Other labeling laws have passed in Maine and Connecticut, but those require other states to pass similar laws before theirs can go into effect. The Vermont law is expected to affect eight out of every 10 food items in grocery stores. The lawsuit is unlikely to come as a surprise. At the time of the bill’s passage, key Vermont lawmakers were quoted as saying there was bound to be a major legal battle ahead. Legislators included a $1.5-million legal defense fund in the bill to help cover the anticipated expense. Proponents of GMO labeling were also prepared for the filing. “Today’s move by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to prevent Vermont from requiring food companies to disclose the truth about what they put in the billions of dollars’ worth of food they sell to consumers is a desperate attempt to protect corporate shareholder profits at the expense of consumers’ rights and health,” said Organic Consumers Association’s National Director Ronnie Cummins in a statement sent to reporters. Cummins added that the supporters of labeling were anticipating a win in court: “Every precaution was taken to ensure that Vermont’s H. 112 would withstand any and all legal challenges, and legal experts agree that that the bill will hold up in federal court.”