USDA reportedly unable to broker GM labeling compromise.

  • The food industry faces the impending July 1 effective date for Vermont’s labeling requirement for genetically modified (GM) foods with no imminent reprieve in sight.  Hopes of a 2015 federal legislative solution did not materialize.  The food industry’s legal challenge to Vermont’s law is still pending.  And recently, a major food company broke with many of its peers to announce its support for federally mandated GM labeling requirements.
  • It has now been reported that consumer activists and food industry representatives have been meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to try to negotiate a GM labeling compromise.  Unfortunately, after two meetings, discussions appear to have led nowhere.  Although Secretary Vilsack has not openly acknowledged his involvement in this process, a consumer activist blog reported that there was not enough common ground between the different groups to facilitate a resolution.
  • The reported breakdown of informal discussions regarding GM labeling may not come as a surprise to either side in the debate.  As food companies continue their preparations to comply with Vermont’s labeling requirements later this year, many wonder what — if anything — will emerge as a workable solution for both sides.

For more information on the status of the GM labeling debate and the implications of federal legislation in this area, see the article, “GMO Disclosure Debate Divides the Food Industry,” authored by Eve Pelonis and Alissa Jijon, available here (subscription to Law360 required).