Food Politics + Justice GMos

Published on June 16th, 2014 | by Jill Ettinger


Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law Faces ‘Free Speech’ Lawsuit from Big Food


It only took a little more than a month for Big Food’s front group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, to file a lawsuit against the state of Vermont over its recently passed GMO labeling law.

The law, which goes into effect in July 2016, will require manufacturers who plan to sell food in the state of Vermont, to label genetically modified ingredients in food products.

In a statement about its decision to file the suit, the GMA said that the law (Act 120) “imposes burdensome new speech requirements — and restrictions — that will affect, by Vermont’s count, eight out of every ten foods at the grocery store.” The Grocery Manufacturers Association contends that the law violates First Amendment rights, which protect corporations as well as individual rights to free speech. “Vermont has effectively conceded this law has no basis in health, safety, or science. That is why a number of product categories, including milk, meat, restaurant items and alcohol, are exempt from the law. This means that many foods containing GMO ingredients will not actually disclose that fact.

“The First Amendment dictates that when speech is involved, Vermont policymakers cannot merely act as a pass-through for the fads and controversies of the day. It must point to a truly “governmental” interest, not just a political one.  And the Constitution prohibits Vermont from regulating nationwide distribution and labeling practices that facilitate interstate commerce.  That is the sole province of the federal government.  The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have both the mandate and expertise to incorporate the views of all the stakeholders at each link in the chain from farm to fork.”

The state anticipated the backlash upon Governor Peter Shumlin’s signing of the GMO labeling law and has already allocated legal funds to help defend its new law.

GMOs image via Shutterstock

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

Jill Ettinger is co-director of Eat Drink Better. She is the senior editor at and A focus on food, herbs, wellness and world cultural expressions, Jill explores what our shifting food, healing systems and creative landscapes will look, sound and taste like in the future. Stay in touch on Twitter @jillettinger and .

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑
  • Let’s Connect!

  • Advertisements

  • Popular Posts & Pages

    Whether you are looking to completely give up animal products or just want to try eating vegan some of the time, we want to support you! Below, you’ll find articles answering some common questions about vegan cooking and nutrition. If you don’t see your question answered below, please get in touch with us! We are happy to investigate for you!

    Find out what's in season now, plus get plenty of recipe inspiration to help you make the most of every season's beautiful, local fare.

    I love infographics. When I came across this one about what, how, and when to plant vegetables, I thought I’d share. Keep reading after the pic for a few of my own lessons learned.

    Putting a healthy meal together can be difficult on a busy weeknight. These quick, easy, healthy meals make even weeknight cooking a breeze.

    Looking for an all vegan grocery store? Even if you’re not lucky enough to have one in your town, there are lots of online options for vegan grocery shopping.

  • Advertisements

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.