On May 8th, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law the nation’s first GMO labeling law requiring that food offered for retail sale that is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering must be labeled as such by July 2016. Ballot initiatives to require GMO labeling failed in California and Washington while Maine and Connecticut passed laws that do not go into effect until other states pass GMO-labeling laws.
The Grocery Manufacturers’ Association (GMA) has already announced plans to challenge the new law, stating in relevant part:
Today, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law HB 112, a bill that is critically flawed and not in the best interests of consumers. It sets the nation on a costly and misguided path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies that will do nothing to advance the safety of consumers.
GM crops are safe and have important benefits for people and our planet. They use less water and fewer pesticides, reduce crop prices by 15-30 percent and can help us feed a growing global population of seven billion people. ….
Consumers who prefer to avoid GM ingredients have the option to choose from an array of products already in the marketplace labeled ‘certified organic.’ The government therefore has no compelling interest in warning consumers about foods containing GM ingredients, making this law’s legality suspect at best. In light of this fact, in the coming weeks GMA will file suit in federal court against the state of Vermont to overturn the law.
See the GMA’s complete press release here.
Consumer’s right to know or compelled speech that violates the First Amendment? The final answer to this compelling question is still many years away.