ONTD Political

2 articles: Monsanto threatens to sue Vermont if it passes law requiring GMO food to be labelled

3:01 pm - 04/21/2012
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is hesitating on his support for a bill that would mandate labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Vermont even though 90% of his constituents want it.

Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if legislators pass H.722.

The bill is in committee, and unless the Governor forces a vote, it will die there when the legislative session ends in a month.

The governor and legislature say that while they're in favor of the bill, it wouldn't hold up to federal legal scrutiny, and they don't want to spend taxpayer money on legal challenges.

Vermonters response is an offer to raise money for the state's defense.

"A bill that once appeared destined to pass on the merits of scientific evidence, overwhelming public support, and support of the majority of Vermont's progressive legislators, now appears doomed - unless Vermont voters succeed in changing the Governor's mind," says Will Allen and Ronnie Cummins, in an article on Alternet.

Last week, VTdigger.org reported: "Rachel Lattimore, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who has represented the Biotechnology Industry Association, Monsanto, and other biotechnology companies, told the committee and one of its attorneys that Vermont would face a lawsuit from the industry if it passed this bill."

The Organic Consumers Association has launched a legal defense fund for Vermont and any other state Monsanto threatens to sue over mandatory GMO labeling laws.

50 countries have GMO labeling laws, in large part based upon peer-reviewed studies suggesting that GMO crops and foods are hazardous to animal and human health and the environment.
says Alternet.

In the US, people are in the dark about GMOs in their food. They don't realize that 75%-plus of soy and corn - ingredients found in just about every product - that's not organic- contains GMOs (even with confusing labels like "natural").

If Vermont surrenders, Big Biotech will know they can easily squash these efforts with mere threats. If Vermont shows courage, it will show Monsanto that the times they are a'changin.

Vermont's Past Experience

"Monsanto has used lawsuits or threats of lawsuits for 20 years to force unlabeled GMOs on the public, and to intimidate farmers into buying their genetically engineered seeds and hormones, says Will Allen.

He says:

When Vermont became the first state in the nation in 1994 to require mandatory labels on milk and dairy products derived from cows injected with the controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, Monsanto's minions sued in Federal Court and won on a judge's decision that dairy corporations have the first amendment "right" to remain silent on whether or not they are injecting their cows with rBGH - even though rBGH has been linked to severe health damage in cows and increased cancer risk for humans, and is banned in much of the industrialized world, including Europe and Canada.

Monsanto wields tremendous influence in Washington, DC and most state capitols. The company's stranglehold over politicians and regulatory officials is what has prompted activists in California to bypass the legislature and collect 850,000 signatures to place a citizens' Initiative on the ballot in November 2012. The 2012 California Right to Know Act will force mandatory labeling of GMOs and to ban the routine practice of labeling GMO-tainted food as "natural."

A coalition of nearly 400 businesses and organizations have filed a legal petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory labeling of GMOs. Last month, the Just Label It campaign delivered over one million comments in support of labeling to the FDA. It hasn't budged.

In February, over 300,000 people including farmers, seed growers and agricultural organizations lost to Monsanto when a judge dismissed the case.
source: Sustainable Business


Vermont Agriculture Committee sends GMO labelling bill to House

By a 9-1 vote Friday afternoon, the House Agriculture Committee approved a bill that would require genetically engineered foods to be labeled.

Legislators said the move comes in response to an increasing call for information about the contents of food and wariness about the science of genetic engineering.

For several reasons, however, the controversial labels are far from a reality in Vermont.

The bill comes out of committee as the 2012 legislative session is in its final weeks. The legislation would need approval from the House Judiciary Committee, the full House, the Senate and the governor before becoming law. Supporters and opponents acknowledge that’s not going to happen.

Even if it did, the bill itself also delays enactment until 365 days after California and at least two other Northeast states enact similar laws.

“We wanted to do it this way so we didn’t disrupt the supply chain,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham. Legislators heard concerns from Vermont food producers that they would have to have two labeling systems for in-state and out-of-state sales.

Rep. Norm McAllister, R-Highgate, was the lone vote on the committee against the bill. McAllister is a dairy goat farmer who grows genetically modified corn and considers it safe.

Supporters of the labeling legislation — noting that 300 people turned out for a public hearing last week in favor of the labeling — said they were disappointed Friday that the committee opted for the delay and that the bill came out so late in the session.

“They passed a piece of legislation that has its arms and legs tied and eyes and ears covered,”
said Andrea Stander, executive director of Rural Vermont. “This essentially ends any opportunity for Vermont to pass a meaningful labeling law.”

The bill also faced concerns over the constitutionality of a labeling requirement. Partridge said she thinks the bill avoids those and will provide fodder for those pursuing labeling laws in other states.
source: Burlington Free Press
____jonas 21st-Apr-2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
I love Vermont.
crysania4 22nd-Apr-2012 01:09 am (UTC)
This is exactly what I came here to say! My partner's parents live in Vermont and so we visit there a lot and I LOVE the state and Vermonters.
ferlingmule 21st-Apr-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)

Seriously... I hate Monsanto. People have a right to know what they are putting in their bodies, and companies who don't give two shits about people need to know we won't just put up with that shit.
sitakhet 21st-Apr-2012 11:44 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'm just overly cautious by nature and all, you know, carry a map on me etc, but since we're years away from really knowing what kind of effects GMOs could have on us, isn't it better to be safe than sorry?

I am very curious to see what comes out of the hypoallergenic peanut research, though.
romp 22nd-Apr-2012 02:32 am (UTC)
you're forgetting the most important concern: PROFITS!
dncingmalkavian 21st-Apr-2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
I have nothing good to say about Monsanto, and I never hear anything good about it. That whole fucking company just needs to go away.
sankaku_atama 22nd-Apr-2012 12:28 am (UTC)
Well, if this wasn't a sign that Monsanto is just waay too big for its britches, I don't know what is.

Monsanto needs to be investigated in full, the CEO(s) need to be terminated, and the farmers who lost all their land because of the lawsuits resulting from windblown Monsanto pollen need to be recompensed.
carmy_w 23rd-Apr-2012 04:13 pm (UTC)

Monsanto is a shitty corporation who is simply a bigger, nastier version of Phillip-Morris and the other tobacco companies.

"We don't give a shit if we're poisoning people, we're making MONEY!"
ragnor144 22nd-Apr-2012 12:35 am (UTC)
It boggles my mind that requiring a label that says what something is could result in a lawsuit that wouldn't immediately be tossed out of court. If you fear a factual statement that much then you are too evil to be allowed to operate (if the world was a just place.)
nahele_101 22nd-Apr-2012 01:58 am (UTC)
100% agreed.

I hope they do it and take it to court.
softxasxsilence 22nd-Apr-2012 12:39 am (UTC)
i h8 monsanto so much
akisawana 22nd-Apr-2012 12:51 am (UTC)
I'm a huge fan of GMOs in theory, and Monsanto ought to be burned and salted. People have a right to know what they're eating. Also, on what planet are GMO crops "natural"?
emofordino 22nd-Apr-2012 01:23 am (UTC)
IA on all points.
tei_0 22nd-Apr-2012 01:41 am (UTC)
This. There are so many opportunities for enormous advancements to people's quality of life in GMOs, but the poor ethics of the companies selling them is fostering (warrented) suspicion and is going to make it harder for products of legitimately ground-breaking research to make it into the public trust.
kaowolfie 22nd-Apr-2012 04:01 am (UTC)
Yes! If a company is acting seriously fishy in its business practices, it makes it very difficult to trust that its products are as safe or as useful as they claim. Because if one part of the tree is rotten, how do we know the fruits haven't been contaminated too?
arisma 22nd-Apr-2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, this this. In my usual debates there's one side 100% YAY GMO and the other that's 100% No never UN-NATRULL! It's possible to support the technology without being on board with how it's currently being used.
dncingmalkavian 22nd-Apr-2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
crossfire 23rd-Apr-2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
This is a good comment and you should feel good for making it.
amyura 22nd-Apr-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
I fucking love Vermont. We keep looking into moving there, but while real estate is a lot cheaper than in MA, my salary as a teacher would be about half of what it is now, and the heating a food bills would be a lot higher.
artichokes 22nd-Apr-2012 01:05 am (UTC)
I love living in Vermont, but paying for heat can be awful. I lived with two teachers and know that they definitely make less here than in Massachusetts. Lots of very cool schools, though.

I hope this law passes just so the lawsuit gets a lot of press, but I would hate for it to be a tremendous strain on the state's budget.
poetic_pixie_13 22nd-Apr-2012 01:11 am (UTC)
I fucking hate Monsanto. The company is just vile and pure evil.
ladylothwen 22nd-Apr-2012 01:49 am (UTC)
Monsanto is just a company I see fiddling as the rest of the world burns.
apostle_of_eris "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!"22nd-Apr-2012 02:24 am (UTC)
Vermont was the 14th state because they thought the other 13 hadn't gone far enough, and only joined the U.S. later.
I love Vermont attitude.

tabaqui 22nd-Apr-2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Oh, man. Don't give in to threats, Vermont! I loathe Monsanto.
miss_world13 22nd-Apr-2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Thank god for Vermont and listening to what your constituents want. Seriously, fuck off, Monsanto.
dncingmalkavian 22nd-Apr-2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
Vermont regularly impresses me. That whole state is just made of awesome.
romp 22nd-Apr-2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Monsanto's minions sued in Federal Court and won on a judge's decision that dairy corporations have the first amendment "right" to remain silent on whether or not they are injecting their cows with rBGH


When we lived in the US, we only gave our kids organic milk because of this--it was a relief to have one fewer thing to track when we moved to Canada. I hadn't realized this was why the difference.

Just because Monsanto had one judge rule this way--and it seems a freaky concept that other judges might not advance?--doesn't mean they'd have the same result on this one issue, does it? Or it there now a precedent in their favour?
lonely_hour 22nd-Apr-2012 04:45 am (UTC)
what the hell! That judge must be corrupt.
sarahsaturn 22nd-Apr-2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
In Wisconsin, rBGH is banned. That's the only good thing about living in Wisconsin at this point, though.
mirhanda 22nd-Apr-2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
I think most if not all companies that don't use rBGH proudly proclaim that fact on their labels. I don't buy any dairy products that don't say that. So even if the GMO foods don't have to be labeled, I'll bet companies that don't use them will say THAT on the labels.
erunamiryene 22nd-Apr-2012 05:00 am (UTC)
Monsanto threatens to sue Vermont if it passes law requiring GMO food to be labelled

... if the company is willing to go this far to avoid transparency, THAT SHOULD FUCKING TELL YOU SOMETHING, PEOPLE. IF YOUR PRODUCTS AREN'T BAD, WHY DON'T YOU ADMIT THAT THEY'RE YOURS??
ar_feiniel_ 22nd-Apr-2012 12:54 pm (UTC)
Don't back down, Vermont!
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