If you reach back, you may remember that the State of Vermont passed a bill that would make GMO labeling mandatory in the state for any products containing GMO ingredients. Like mot labeling bills, Vermont’s law was fraught with problems. Nonetheless, the state raised money to defend the law against the inevitable lawsuit. That lawsuit was filed by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association and other trade groups.
We finally have an update in the case!
On Monday, April 27, the judge in the case ruled on two motions. The State of Vermont had filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. In layman terms, that means Vermont was arguing to the judge that there was defect in the GMA’s lawsuit that precluded the suit from going forward. If successful, the motion would have ended the lawsuit (at least for the time being, depending on the grounds) and allowed the GMO labeling law to go forward. However, the judge denied this motion – a big win for GMA. From the news reports, it appears that the judge thought GMA’s claims had some merit.
On the other hand, the judge also denied GMA’s preliminary injunction against the GMO labeling law. If it had been successful, the injunction would have stopped the labeling law from going into effect in July of 2016. The law would only be allowed to go into effect if the State of Vermont prevailed in the lawsuit. The GMA likely argued that having to comply with the law before the court determines if it is enforceable would be very difficult, especially if the law is later overturned. However, because the judge denied the injunction, the labeling requirements will still go into effect in July of 2016.
You can read about this update here.
These two decisions by the judge are very, very preliminary in this case. It is encouraging that the judge denied the Motion to Dismiss, because at the very least, it insinuates that the GMA may have a viable argument. On the other hand, not granting the preliminary injunction is a bit disappointing. We know that the labeling laws will cost consumers money in the end, and the burden and cost of somehow labeling all products containing GMOs would be tedious and, quite frankly, ridiculous. However, preliminary injunctions are generally a high hurdle to cross and obviously the judge wasn’t buying it.
All in all, more positive news than negative.
Ballot measures that would require GMO labeling have been rejected in several states, including California, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more about labeling laws, click here. To consider the real intent behind labeling laws, click here.