US grocers sue Vermont over GMO labeling law citing First Amendment

Four organizations filed suit against the state of Vermont for Act 120, which requires food manufacturers to label products that include genetically engineered ingredients. The organizations contend the act violates their First Amendment rights by compelling them to “use their labels to convey an opinion with which they disagree …”

The plaintiffs include the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the Association of Manufacturers. The defendants include Attorney General Bill Sorrell, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Harry Chen, the commissioner of the Department of Health, and James Reardon, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Finance and Management.

The plaintiffs are asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont to invalidate Act 120 and enjoin the state from enforcing it.

“In adopting Act 120, the State acted as a pass-through for advocates of controversial views that the State did not purport to endorse, and that are based on conjecture about ‘unintended consequences’ that the State did not bother to substantiate, or even investigate,” note the plaintiffs.

“Act 120 imposes monumental costs that fall on out-of-state entities and employees who have no political representation in the State. It alters and impedes the flow of interstate commerce in food, which the public has a strong interest in keeping affordable and accessible throughout the year. It has the effect of regulating products, conduct, and commerce occurring outside Vermont’s borders, and on the Internet.”

The trade groups call the Vermont law “a costly and misguided measure that will set the nation on a path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies that do nothing to advance the health and safety of consumers.”

Read the full, original article: Vermont sued over GMO law

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