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Public Policy

Genetically Modified Foods Labeling Laws Under Attack in Congress and Federal Court of Appeals

GM bill is likely to be introduced in US Senate. The industry-backed Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this bill: | Lexis Advance], which would prohibit individual states from setting standards for the labeling of foods made from genetically modified organisms, may be introduced in the US Senate soon. The bill passed the House of Representatives in the summer, and its GOP supporters had originally wanted to introduce it in the Senate only if it had a Democratic sponsor. Now, according to a September 30 Politico article, the measure could be introduced as early as October, with only Republican co-sponsors. Chuck Conner, president of the National Council of Farming Cooperatives and a supporter of the act, said he was told the bill would be introduced this month after a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing. “From our standpoint, we’ve got a pretty good shot” at getting it passed, thanks in large part to the GOP majority, Conner said.

Appeals court hears case on Vermont GM statute. On October 8, oral argument was held in New York at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on an appeal filed by a group of trade associations representing food producers that are opposing Vermont’s GM food labelling law. The law requires labeling of such foods and prohibits manufacturers from describing them as “natural.” In April, a US district judge, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: | Lexis Advance], rejected the associations’ challenge to the statute, denying a preliminary injunction against its enforcement. It found that the groups were not likely to prevail on the merits of their claims or could not establish irreparable harm. The statute is set to take effect on July 1, 2016. See our earlier coverage of this case.

This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers Stefanie Jill Fogel, Kathleen Smith Ruhland, and Maggie Craig focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape.

Read more about food and beverage law in Food and Beverage News and Trends.

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