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Dairy Facts 2016
 
 

Judge Denies Vermont’s Motion to Dismiss in GMO Labeling Suit

Apr 29, 2015

A federal judge in the District Court of Vermont recently issued a complex 84-page decision denying portions of the State’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Act 120, which attempts to mandate labeling for foods that are genetically modified or have genetically modified ingredients and are sold within the state. This decision means the case can move forward. IDFA is a co-plaintiff in this suit, along with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Food Association and the National Association of Manufacturers.

While the Court dismissed some aspects of the plaintiffs’ claims, it found that a number of the claims were likely to succeed in court, including those that allege that  the law’s restriction on “natural” labeling violates the First and Fifth Amendments, and that the law is preempted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act and Poultry Products Inspection Act.

Additionally in the opinion, the judge denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, which sought to prevent Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling requirement from going into effect during the lawsuit. Even though the plaintiffs’ showed that they were likely to succeed on certain claims, the Court denied the request because it found that the plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm caused to them by implementing portions of Act 120.

“While IDFA would have preferred to have the motion for a preliminary injunction granted, we are encouraged that the District Court found us likely to succeed on several of our claims,” said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and general counsel. “We respect and support the freedom of choice that our member companies give shoppers when they provide information on their labels and believe companies should have the choice to label things that differentiate their products.” 

IDFA and the other plaintiffs are currently reviewing the decision and considering their legal options.

Members with questions may contact Hough at chough@idfa.org.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act

IDFA supports “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” a federal voluntary GMO labeling act introduced in March by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). The bill would provide consumers with consistent information and prevent a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws by giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jurisdiction over GMO labeling.

To get more involved in the effort to support “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” contact Ashley Burch, director of political programs, at aburch@idfa.org or (202) 220-3534.

 

 

 
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