Chief Judge Christina Reiss OKs Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law: GMA’s Preliminary Injunction Denied

Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law still stands after U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss ruled against the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association (GMA) and other interested food groups’ request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the GMO labeling law from going into effect in Vermont next summer. The ruling brings Vermont one huge step closer to being the first state in the Union to mandate that foods containing genetically modified organisms disclose that information on product labels.

The GMA was disappointed that the judge ruled against the preliminary injunction against Vermont’s GMO labeling law, according to U.S. News.

“Manufacturers are being harmed, and they are being harmed now,” the GMA said. “Act 120 is unconstitutional and imposes burdensome new speech requirements on food manufacturers and retailers.”

The GMA was joined in the lawsuit by the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers, according to U.S. News. Together the plaintiffs allege that Vermont’s GMO labeling law is unconstitutional and violates the industry’s First Amendment rights. Because the judge partially granted some requests by the industry against the Vermont labeling law and Vermont’s Attorney General William Sorrel finalized rules regarding the GMO law this month, the case will likely go to trial, according to North Country Public Radio. Though an automatic win would be preferred by many anti-GMO advocates, some are saying that a trial would bring a lot of facts about GMOs further into the public spotlight.

Connecticut and Maine have also passed GMO labeling laws, but these states’ laws require a neighboring state to go first. The GMA’s lawsuit was expected and planned for. GMO labeling supporters came together last year and raised funds to support “Vermont’s Food Fight,” and even big names in the industry like Ben & Jerry’s teamed up to raise funds to support the State of Vermont’s legal battle.

“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,'” the judge wrote, dismissing the industry groups’ claims that Vermont’s GMO labeling law violates First Amendment rights and dismissing additional claims that Vermont’s law violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

[Photo via GMO Free USA/Twitter]