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Vermont GMO Battle: Monsanto's Minions Threaten to Sue

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page, Millions Against Monsanto Page and our Vermont News Page.

Montpelier - State lawmakers got a sneak preview last week of the court battle that likely awaits if they pass a bill requiring genetically modified foods sold in Vermont to be labeled.

Industry representatives both for and against the labeling bill, H.112, gave heated testimony at the Statehouse on Wednesday before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the bill, which already passed the House, awaits action.

The bill would mandate that most packaged foods be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs. As written, dairy products, alcohol and meat, plus restaurant food, would be exempted from the law.

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, said he supports the bill, but his biggest concerns are the potential cost of litigation and the dairy exemption.

Assistant Attorney General Bridget Asay testified that the state may spend about $1 million defending the law in court. Even if the state is successful, she said, it would be hard to recover legal fees. If the state lost, the legal challenge could cost $5 million or more. The estimate includes the state's costs and potential reimbursement for a victorious plaintiff.

Given the potential price tag, Sears said, he wants to make sure the law is foolproof.