INSIDER Law
GMA Appeals Ruling on Vermont GMO Labeling Law

GMA Appeals Ruling on Vermont GMO Labeling Law

Last month, a federal judge indicated she would uphold a requirement in Vermont that genetically engineered foods are labeled.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has appealed a court ruling that denied its request to block implementation of the first state law to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.

A notice was filed on May 6 with the federal district court, the first step in lodging an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. GMA and other food groups are seeking to overturn Vermont’s Act 120, which is set to take effect on July 1, 2016 and was passed by the Vermont Legislature a year ago.

Last month, a federal judge denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and indicated she would uphold the labeling requirement in spite of arguments that it violates the First Amendment and is preempted by federal law.

“The court’s opinion in denying our request to block the Vermont law opens the door to states creating mandatory labeling requirements based on pseudo-science and web-fed hysteria," GMA President Pamela G. Bailey said last week in a statement. “If this law is allowed to go into effect, it will disrupt food supply chains, confuse consumers and lead to higher food costs." 

The 84-page ruling was bittersweet for GMA. While chief federal judge Christina Reiss leaned strongly in favor of an eventual ruling that the disclosure requirement holds up under the First Amendment, she identified a number of problems with a prohibition on use of the term “natural" and similar words on genetically engineered foods in labeling and advertising.

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