Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Vermonters saying 'yes' to the labeling of foods containing GMOs.  (Photo: Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center/flickr/cc)

Denied! Powerful Industry Groups Get Setback in Effort to Keep Consumers in the Dark on GMOs

District court upholds constitutionality of Vermont's GMO labeling law; denies injunction sought by industry groups

Andrea Germanos

A federal court on Monday denied a request by powerful food industry groups to block Vermont's landmark law requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs).

The plaintiffs, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, had sought a preliminary injunction to stop implementation of Act 120, which passed in May 2014 and will take effect July 2016.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss wrote in her ruling (pdf) that the plaintiffs failed to show that they would suffer "irreparable harm," as is necessary to issue preliminary injunctive relief. "Because the State has established that Act 120's GE [GMO] disclosure requirement is reasonably related to the State's substantial interests... Act 120's GE disclosure requirement is constitutional."

The ruling further declares:

Plaintiffs lose both traction and credibility in their further contention that any State interest in "catering to personal, political, and religious views that reject science is neither legitimate nor governmental" and that, because the State allegedly "has no monetary skin in the game, there is not even a financial interest in the enforcement of [Act 120]. 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 Associated Press adds that Judge Reiss "partially granted and partially denied the state's motion to dismiss the industry lawsuit, meaning the case is likely to go to trial."

Food labeling proponents of welcomed the court's decision.

"This important ruling affirms the constitutionality of genetically engineered food labeling, as well as the rights of Vermonters and U.S. citizens across the country," stated George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety and counsel in the case.

He also called it "a crucial step in protecting" consumers' right to know how their food is produced.

Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, called the ruling "a victory for Vermont consumers."

And Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association, said the decision "represents a tremendous victory for not only the citizens of Vermont, but the entire GMO labeling movement."

The ruling, Cummins continued, "signals that the courts agree that states have a constitutional right to pass GMO labeling laws," which he says "bodes well for GMO labeling bills that are moving through other state legislatures."

The court ruling comes days after an analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that found that industry groups spent $63.6 million last year—triple the amount spent in 2013—to defeat GMO labeling measures.

EWG policy analyst and report author Libby Foley stated: "We also know consumers are clamoring for more information about their food and a say about the agricultural practices that produce what they eat. So the question is why the food and biotech industry is so committed to keeping consumers in the dark that it’s spending millions of dollars to defeat customer-supported efforts to label GMO foods?"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Low-Income Americans to Congress: 'I Am the Cost of Cutting Build Back Better'

"We need to stop asking, 'How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?' and instead ask, 'How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'" said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Progressives Won't Leave Working Families Behind': Jayapal Stands Ground Against Pelosi-Biden

"We've been clear since the spring: the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act pass together—and that hasn't changed."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Too Bad We Can't Tax Egos': Elon Musk Blasted for Attack on Billionaire Tax

"This country made him rich," said one critic. "He owes us."

Julia Conley ·


'Hold the Line': Progressives Push to Block Vote on Weaker Bill Without Final Text of Build Back Better

"By holding firm on keeping the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill firmly linked, progressives are giving their colleagues in the Senate the space and the leverage to negotiate the strongest package possible."

Common Dreams staff ·


Will They Lie or Finally Come Clean?: Watch Fossil Fuel CEOs Testify at Historic Hearing

"Will these executives own up to their misinformation, or keep trying to hide behind lies and spin?"

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo