Vermont’s GMO labeling law set to take effect July 1, 2016 has spurred the food industry to action calling on the federal government to pass legislation that would pre-empt Vermont’s law, “Act Relating to the Labeling of Food Produced with Genetic Engineering.” The bill requires the food industry to identify on the product label if the product contains a genetically modified organism, or GMO. It’s estimated that today nearly 70 percent of all products are made with at least one GMO ingredient.
Just last week, Senate Republications passed a bill through the Agriculture Committee while the Republications are moving their Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (SAFE) bill through channels. Meanwhile, Democrats who don’t support SAFE are moving their own bill coined the “Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act.” Currently, this is the only bill that explicitly requires food manufactures to list the presence of GMOs on the product’s Nutrition Fact Panel.
According to Thomas Sullivan, a partner with the law firm Morgan Lewis, the real elephant in the room is the legislation from Vermont. Groups have come together to challenge the bill and one of the main grounds is as a First Amendment issue. “The issue there is whether the Vermont Act properly mandates certain content, speech content, by forcing manufactures to put the label on their product,” explains Sullivan.
He says a lot of these issues went to the Circuit Court in Vermont as manufacturers sought an injunction against the Act going into effect. The District Court denied the injunction. “So unless something changes, the legislation is going into effect July 1.”| | | Next → | Single Page
About Joanna Schroeder
Joanna Schroeder is the editor of DomesticFuel.com as well as a freelance energy and agriculture reporter for other publications including Biofuels Journal, AgWired.com, Biofuels International, Denver Post, Agri-Marketing Magazine, Industrial Biotechnology, Academics Review, and more. She serves as an energy expert for other national media outlets and has been featured in several documentaries. Each month, Schroeder reviews energy and agriculture books with the reviews featured on DomesticFuel.com and syndicated to other news sites. She has a BS in Environmental Science and MS in Technical Communications from Iowa State University. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.