We believe a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws will create confusion and uncertainty for consumers, and additionally would force consumers to pay more for the food they need. We support the food industry’s decision to challenge the legality of the labeling law in Vermont. Monsanto is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit, but we are a member of GMA. We also support the Coalition for Safe Affordable Foods’ (CFSAF) position that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should be America’s sole authority on food safety and labeling requirements.
QWhy is Monsanto suing Vermont over GMO labeling laws?
Moderator Note: Below is an excerpt from the article, “Vermont pro-GMO labeling groups play Monsanto ‘fear card’ in deceptive fund-raising effort” originally posted at Genetic Literacy Project.
"You may have read recent posts on activist blogs about how 'Mighty Monsanto' is taking the 'tiny state of Vermont' to court over its labeling laws. 'Monsanto Sues Vermont,' screamed one headline. According to the Organic Consumers Association, 'Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association filed a lawsuit' to block the bill.
"To recap, back in April, Vermont passed a law mandating all foods to be labeled if they are made with genetically modified crops. The law is to take effect in July 2016."
"The lawsuit, whose full text can be found here, describes why the plaintiffs (i.e. the people who are suing) think that the law is illegal. These are the two points that standout:
'The act is premised on a legislative finding that some consumers want to avoid food derived from genetic engineering because they distrust the FDA’s findings or otherwise object to the use or prevalence of biotechnology in agriculture. The State does not purport to share those views, however, and it has exempted broad categories of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients from these requirements.'
"The plaintiffs are asking: 'why do I have to label my products, but they don’t have to?” I agree here. Doesn’t make sense why some categories are exempt if the premise for the law is “right to know.'
'The proscriptions in Act 120 are beyond Vermont’s power to enact. The State is compelling manufacturers to convey messages they do not want to convey, and prohibiting manufacturers from describing their product in terms of their choosing, without anything close to a sufficient justification. The State is forcing the costs of this experiment on out-of-state companies and citizens to which it is not politically accountable, and it is undermining and impeding the federal government’s interest in uniform, nationwide standards for food labeling prescribed by duly authorized expert federal agencies.'
"Here, the plaintiffs claim the law is in violation of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech by forcing a company to say something that it doesn’t want to say as long it is not violating any laws. Additionally, they are stating that labeling is regulated at a federal level, and it doesn’t make legal sense for a state to impose its own labeling requirements at the expense of everyone else."
Read more at Genetic Literacy Project.