Grocers Appeal Vermont GMO Law Ruling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association will appeal a federal court ruling allowing a Vermont food labeling law to proceed.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association will appeal a federal court ruling allowing a Vermont food labeling law to proceed.

Vermont lawmakers last year enacted the nation's first statewide requirement that food companies identify genetically modified ingredients on labels. The state attorney general formally adopted the rules to implement the law last month, which set the stage for the mandate to take effect next summer.

The grocers' group, however, filed a lawsuit alleging that the law is unconstitutional and asked the Vermont district court to halt implementation of the law while that case proceeded.

Judge Christina Reiss denied that motion late last month, and the group announced Friday that it would appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

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

Bailey also said the decision should prompt Congress to pass nationwide legislation that would create a voluntary non-GMO certification program — and pre-empt state and local labeling requirements.

George Krimbrell, attorney for the Center for Food Safety, lauded Reiss' decision and pledged to continue advocating for the rights of states to implement labeling laws.

“Americans are demanding the truth in labeling that citizens in 64 other countries already have,” Krimbrell said.

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