JUDGE RULES: VT’s GMO FOOD LABELING LAW IS CONSTITUTIONAL AND CAN GO TO TRIAL

From Rural Vermont –

JUDGE RULES: VT’s GMO FOOD LABELING LAW IS CONSTITUTIONAL AND CAN GO TO TRIAL

In an eighty-four page decision issued late on Monday April 28th, Federal District Court Judge Christina Reiss denied the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association’s motion for an injunction to block Vermont’s GMO labeling law from being implemented. Although she also denied the State of Vermont’s motion to dismiss the GMA’s lawsuit entirely, her ruling did support many of the State’s key arguments in support of the law.

Vermont’s first in the nation GMO labeling law was passed overwhelmingly by the legislature last year, and signed by Governor Shumlin last May. Passage of the law was supported by the work of the Vermont Right to Know GMOs coalition spearheaded by Cedar Circle Farm, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), Rural Vermont, and VPIRG. .

Next steps in the case may include proceeding to trial to resolve outstanding claims, or an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Though the Court found that Plaintiffs’ are not likely to succeed on blocking the disclosure requirement, the Court indicated that the prohibition on using the term “natural” will face an uphill battle. The law is set to go in to effect on July 1st 2016.

Please visit the VT Right to Know GMOs website for further updates as the court case continues.

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VT Committees “Arm wrestling for money”

From Rural Vermont’s Update: If you’re following the mainstream news at all, you know that there are debates raging in virtually every committee about money. Who’s going to get some, who’s not and where the hell is it going to come from?

In our work on the Raw Milk Bill (H.426), the Poultry Processing Bill (H.52) and the big Water Quality bills (H.35 and S.49) we are focusing on ensuring that economic opportunity and viability is preserved for family farmers, and greater freedom to choose our food is available to all of us “eaters.” We are also trying to ensure that fundamental principles of regenerative and sustainable agriculture and wise use of our crucial resources like water and soil are not abandoned or degraded in the process and politics of arm wrestling over money.

Along the way we’re also trying to preserve some measure of common sense as we seek to build a food system based on trust instead of fear.

For more on this I refer you once again to Wendell Berry:

“There is, then, a politics of food that, like any politics, involves our freedom. We still (sometimes) remember that we cannot be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else. But we have neglected to understand that we cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled by someone else. The condition of the passive consumer of food is not a democratic condition. One reason to eat responsibly is to live free.”

Here you can read the entire essay, “The Pleasure of Eating” from which this quote comes. The Pleasure of Eating is part of Berry’s 1990 book “What Are People For?”

I hope you will!

Andrea

P.S. For more on our public policy work and how you can TAKE ACTION TODAY, see the Issue Updates section below. And I hope to see you on April 8th at Farmers Tell Their Stories. 

GMO Labeling Public Hearing

Rural Vermont – The hearing will take place on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, from 5 – 6pm in Room 10 at the State House in Montpelier.Additionally, the Attorney General has extended the deadline for submitting written comments on the rule by two weeks to Thursday, February 12, 2015.

There is a variety of additional information from the Attorney General’s office available here.

We encourage anyone, who is interested in helping to ensure that our GMO Food Labeling law is implemented effectively, to either attend this hearing or submit your comments to ago.GEFoodLabelingRule@state.vt.us before the Feb. 12 deadline.

 

Make sure you’re on the VT Right to Know email list so you will receive further updates as we continue to implement and defend our law.
Also, plan to visit the VT Right to Know booth at the 2015 NOFA-VT Winter Conference, Feb. 14-15 in Burlington.

VT GMO Labeling Action – June 16th

BREAKING NEWS:
Industrial Food Corporations
Attack VT’s GMO Labeling Law

Friday June 13, 2014

ACTION ALERT:

Rally to Defend Vermont’s New GMO Labeling Law

WHEN: Monday June 16, 2014 at 2:00PM

WHERE: Church Street, Burlington
– in front of the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop

WHO: Vermonters who care about what’s in their food

Rural Vermont, a founding member of the Vermont Right to Know Coalition, invites everyone who cares about your right to know what’s in your food to join us for a rally in support of Vermont as we defend our new GMO Labeling Law.

Yesterday, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and a host of their industrial food corporate allies filed a lawsuit in federal court calling for Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law to be struck down.

The rally is being organized collaboratively by Ben & Jerry’s, the Governor’s Office, and the Vermont Right to Know Coalition. The goal of the rally is to demonstrate broad support for Vermont’s new GMO Labeling Law and to promote the Vermont Food Fight Fund.

Ben & Jerry’s will unveil a new ice cream flavor that will help support the VT Food Fight Fund and of course, free samples will be available.

VT still in the fight with Monsanto

From VT Right to Know GMOs – April 17, 2014

Bill Passes Senate, 28-2!

Following Tuesday’s initial approval, the Senate officially passed Vermont’s GMO labeling bill (H.112) 28 to 2 on Wednesday!

This historic vote moves Vermont ever closer to becoming the first state to require labels on the GMO foods. The bill will now head to the House of Representatives where they will decide whether to concur with the Senate’s version of the bill, or create a conference committee to iron out the differences.

To visibly demonstrate the broad support for this bill we are calling for “honk and wave” events next Tuesday, April 22 (Earth Day) during morning “drive time” not just in Vermont but all across the country. Our national partners and supporters are helping to organize this.

Use this online tool to set up and share your local honk and wave!

In case you don’t know, a “honk and wave” is when you and your friends get some signs together, set up shop on a street corner (or highway overpass) and rally in front of motorists in support of GMO labeling. Please plan to snap a picture of your event and post it to the VT Right to Know Facebook page.

Keep checking our website for the latest on where people will be gathering, and make sure to share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or via email – vtrighttoknowgmos(at)gmail.com. Thank you so much for everything you have done to get us this far!

Read the VT Digger article – http://vtdigger.org/2014/04/17/senate-passes-gmo-labeling-bill/

This is obviously another states right issue – “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” – US Constitution

Check out the tenth amendment centers website to learn more – http://tenthamendmentcenter.com

Sanders Calls For GMO Labeling Amendment To Farm Bill

From VPR News:

Thursday, 06/14/12 5:50pm

Bob Kinzel

Senator Bernie Sanders is urging his colleagues to allow individual states to require the labeling of all genetically engineered foods. Sanders’ proposal is one of more than 80 amendments to the new Farm Bill.

The Vermont Legislature considered a labeling bill this past session but Democratic leaders decided not to bring it up because of concerns that the major chemical companies would sue the state.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Sanders said his amendment makes it clear that states do have the authority to address this issue if they choose to:

“Amendment number 2310 is about allowing states to honor the wishes of their residents and allowing consumers to know what they are eating,” said Sanders. “If this is not a conservative amendment I don’t know what is. Americans deserve the right to know what they and their children are eating and that is what this amendment is all about.”

And Sanders notes that dozens of countries, including the European Union, have similar labeling laws in place:

“So this is good in 49 or more countries around the world why is it not acceptable in the United States of America and the answer is pretty simple,” said Sanders. “That we have a large powerful multi-national corporation who is more concerned about their own profits that they are about allowing the American people to know what is in the food that they are eating.”

The full Senate is expected to vote on the Sanders amendment early next week.

link to article – http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/94870/sanders-calls-for-gmo-labeling-amendment-to-farm-b/

Food Democracy Now Blog Article – w/text of Amendment – http://fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2012/jun/14/senators_sanders_and_boxer_farm_bill_label_gmos/

Bernie’s Press Release – http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=09f69aba-a6a5-4292-9ac2-cb8ae1265ede