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Monsanto Attacking Democracy in Vermont

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page, Millions Against Monsanto Page and our Vermont News Page.

Monsanto's lobbyists are out in force in Vermont, lobbying politicians in the hope of scuttling H.122, Vermont's labeling law, which would require mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

They're repeating ad nauseum their propaganda claims that GE foods and crops are perfectly safe and therefore need no labeling, that transgenics are environment- and climate-friendly, and that genetically modified crops are necessary to feed the world.

But as consumers become wiser, Monsanto has had to resort to attacking democracy instead of merely trying to defend its indefensible products.

One of Monsanto's major propaganda points, designed to discourage state officials from passing GMO labeling laws, is that state GMO labeling is unconstitutional. Last year, the company threatened to sue the state of Vermont if lawmakers passed a GMO labeling law.

Biotech industry lawyers claim federal courts will strike down mandatory state GMO labeling for three reasons:

1) Because federal law, in this case FDA regulations, pre-empts state law.

2) Because commercial free speech allows corporations to remain silent on whether or not their products are genetically engineered.

3) Because GMO labeling would interfere with interstate commerce.

These claims simply don't hold up. State GMO labeling, and other food safety and food labeling laws, are constitutional. Federal law, upheld for decades by federal court legal decisions, allows states to pass laws relating to food safety or food labels when the FDA has no prior regulations or prohibitions in place.