The food industry, led by the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), and Vermont have agreed to dismiss a federal lawsuit that challenged a state law requiring the labeling of certain foods made with genetically modified organisms. (Subscription to The New York Times required)

  • As previously covered on this blog, Vermont’s labeling requirements for genetically modified (GM) foods have been preempted by the recent enactment of federal GM labeling legislation which establishes a “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard” and calls for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to “establish a national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard”.  On August 11, 2016, Vermont’s Attorney General (AG) issued a formal memo stating that the AG’s office will no longer enforce the state’s requirements.  Still pending on appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, however, was a federal court case filed by food industry groups against the state of Vermont challenging the state GMO labeling law.
  • Earlier this week, the parties to the lawsuit agreed the suit was no longer warranted because a new federal law preempted the Vermont law that took effect July 1, 2016.
  • The dismissal of the legal challenge to Vermont’s GMO labeling law represents the formal conclusion of a particularly controversial chapter in the GM labeling debate that involved sparring over the potential development of a patchwork of conflicting labeling requirements across the 50 states.  With the conclusion of the Vermont GMO labeling law saga, industry can now work with USDA to develop uniform federal regulation for labeling GMO foods.