Vermont may well be drawing the line in U.S. soil regarding genetically modified food. U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss rule that the Vermont law on GMO labeling stands. The law, effective July 1, 2016, requires that all foods containing GMO ingredients be labeled as such. Needless to say, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers are having a genetically modified cow over the decision.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association filed a motion for a preliminary injunction preventing the law from becoming effective. It argued, “Manufacturers are being harmed, and they are being harmed now. Act 120 is unconstitutional and imposes burdensome new speech requirements on food manufacturers and retailers.”
Say what? The law hasn’t even gone into effect and you’re being harmed now? The speech requirements are burdensome? You mean actually printing labels with the ingredients of your products listed is a problem? Um, you already do that with the exception of the ones you lie about, I mean, omit.
William Sorrell, Vermont’s AG, said, “There’s a lot of good news in this decision for us and for the heart and soul of the labeling law.” My hat is off to the judge and the AG. Other supporters of the law include environmental and consumer groups as well as religious groups, as Muslims and certain Jews do not eat pork. Their concern is over pork genes finding their way into other foods.
Industry groups fire back with arguments that the First Amendment gives them broad discretionary rights as to what goes on the label and the state would need a compelling interest to override it. Fortunately for those who prefer their corn pig-free, Judge Reiss disagreed. “The safety of food products, the protection of the environment, and the accommodation of religious beliefs and practices are all quintessential governmental interests, as is the State’s desire ‘to promote informed consumer decision-making.’”
If it didn’t make me so angry that the industry shills are trying to block this law, I would laugh. For years, we’ve been spoon-fed the swill that “GMOs are safe and the way of the future [insert dramatic echo].” It seems to me that if this were true, it would be a major selling point to GMO-containing products. Put it in the ingredients list. Make a big, splashy, “New and Improved! Now Includes GMOs!” banner on the label.
Instead, we see the industry busting its collective behind trying to block truth in labeling laws. If GMOs are so good for us, why are they so afraid to tell us that’s what we’re eating?