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Plaintiffs Appeal Court Ruling on Vermont GMO Labeling Law

May 13, 2015

Four trade associations, including IDFA, will appeal an April 27 federal court ruling that denied their motion to halt implementation of Vermont’s mandatory labeling law for foods that are genetically modified or have genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) pending further litigation. The District Court’s ruling against the associations’ motion for a preliminary injunction means that Vermont can continue preparing to implement the labeling law, which is set to go into effect in July 2016.

IDFA is a co-plaintiff in this suit, along with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Food Association and the National Association of Manufacturers.

The plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal last week in Vermont federal district court, taking the first formal step to appeal last week’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A legal brief outlining the grounds for the appeal will be filed with the appellate court in the weeks ahead.

Decision Could Encourage Other States

“By denying our preliminary request to block the Vermont law, the court's decision could encourage other states to pursue comparable labeling laws that would likely disrupt food supply chains, confuse consumers and lead to higher food costs,” said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president.

In the preliminary ruling, the judge said Vermont could pass a state labeling mandate because no current federal law regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over food labeling preempts state action.

“We continue to call for Congress to quickly pass the voluntary uniform GMO labeling bill and federally preempt state laws on mandatory GMO labeling,” Hough said.

IDFA supports “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” a bill that proposes to create a national, science-based labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that was introduced in March by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jurisdiction over GMO labeling, prevent a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws and provide consumers with consistent information.

For more information, contact Hough at
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