Last week Vermont became the first state in the US to pass a law mandating that food manufacturers label genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Greenpeace’s Mark Floegel laid it all out expertly, in case you want to go back and read up on it.
Needless to say, this is great news for consumer rights and bad news for food producers who sell GMOs. Among the important things to know about this law is that it should cause other states to follow suit in a kind of domino effect, particularly those states who have already enacted “trigger laws.” Here’s what Mark said about that:
While other states have passed GMO labeling laws, those laws all contained “trigger clauses,” meaning those laws would not go into effect until several other states’ laws had already gone into effect.
Why the trigger? Fear of lawsuits. Monsanto and other genetic modifying corporations have threatened to sue any state that passes laws like Vermont’s. Our legislators knew this going in.
Big, multinational corporations like Monsanto have more money than small states like Vermont to pour into litigation. One Vermont lawmaker told Mark she estimates even a victorious defense of the new law could cost about $10 million. If Vermont loses, it would have to foot Monsanto’s legal bill too.
So Vermont is turning to grassroots support for its defense. The state is reaching out to the public to raise a legal fund in anticipation of Monsanto’s attack. This is a prime chance for Greenpeace and our supporters to stand up and rally behind a pioneering state and a pioneering law. And to tell Monsanto and its buddies to take a hike.