Follow by Email

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The DARK Act Makes Absolutely No Sense, And Here's Why

Alex Law, Corruption Fighter, Activist, Candidate for Congress, 09-16, 15

This summer HR Bill 1599 was introduced to Congress. Dubbed the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know) by its opponents, it was reactionary legislation to Vermont, Connecticut and Maine's 2014 laws that made GMO labeling mandatory on food packaging. The DARK Act makes absolutely no sense, and here's why.

GMO means Genetically Modified Organism, and in this instance, is being used to describe agricultural products that have been genetically modified. There is a debate over whether GMOs are good or bad for our health, but that isn't what this bill is about (incidentally, I don't think there is compelling evidence that GMOs are always good or always bad). 

This bill is about the consumer's right to know whether or not what they are eating contains GMOs. It is a pretty reasonable request for a person to have as much information as possible about the food they are feeding their children so that they can make a decision based on their personal values whether or not they want it. There is a fear from food manufacturers that disclosing that they use GMO foods will:
A. Increase costs
B. Decrease sales.

Part B of that fear may very well be accurate, but consumers should be entitled to know what they are feeding their families more than companies like Monsanto are entitled to gratuitous profits. To be clear, even if they disclose that they are using GMOs in their food, companies will STILL make a whole lot of money.

The Bill

This bill preempts states from requiring labeling of GMO food. Further, it prohibits states from preventing often inaccurate "natural claims". The bill makes it impossible for the FDA to create a national GMO labeling system. It would also mandate the review system for the safety of GMO food to be based on industry science, which means the people making the food will determine if the food is safe.

*Unrelated to the content of the bill, but speaking to the duplicity of those who wrote it, HR 1599 is technically called "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015" which would make those casually searching about it think the bill was aiming to increase food labeling. To be clear, that is wildly untrue.

Analysis

Those reasons are why this bill makes absolutely no sense. States were trying to protect their consumers by require clear labeling of what went into food products sold to their citizens. Monsanto and friends saw this as a threat to business as usual and decided to spend a bunch of money lobbying Congress and the American public to paint themselves as reasonable and their opponents as hippie-rabble rousing left-wingers. It was cleverly done, but at the end of the day very inaccurate. Campaign contributions are likely why most elected officials that support the bill are supporting it.

Around the world, 64 other nations require GMO labeling because just like nutrition and ingredient labeling, it just makes sense. GMO labeling will not increase food prices. Companies change labels regularly for various reasons from new flavors, new logos, updated designs etc. 

The reason big companies are against this is likely because they fear smaller, truly natural farmers might be able to collectively steal market share when people know what's actually in products. This is why voluntary labeling will not work. Voluntary labeling just leads to consumer confusion, as companies that produce food that is anything but natural can use loopholes and vague language in current laws to label their food as natural.

This isn't an issue of whether GMOs are good or bad. This isn't about natural versus "standard" food production. This is simply an issue about whether or not families should be able to know what is in the food that they buy so they can decide what they want to feed their children. In countries all over the world, people have that ability. It's time we have it in America too.

Follow Alex Law on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlexLawNJ

Sunday, September 20, 2015

GMO Crops Totally Banned in Russia


Sunday, September 20, 2015
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger


(NaturalNews) At the same time that Monsanto's corruption is infiltrating every corner of U.S. academia, government regulators and corporate-controlled media, Russia has just announced a total ban on the cultivation of GMO crops.

"A senior Russian government member told reporters the cabinet decided that any food production in the country will completely exclude any genetically-modified organisms or parts thereof," reports RT.com.

RT reports:

According to official statistics the share of GMO in the Russian food industry has declined from 12 percent to just 0.01 percent over the past 10 years, and currently there are just 57 registered food products containing GMO in the country. The law ordering obligatory state registration of GMO products that might contact with the environment will come into force in mid-2017.

This puts Russia in a powerful position of producing nearly 100% non-GMO foods for both domestic consumption and export. Most consumers around the world, when given a choice, prefer to eat non-GMO foods. In the United States, the criminally-run food industry front group -- the Grocery Manufacturers of America -- is desperately trying to block all GMO food labeling in order to keep consumers in the dark about what they're eating. Nearly the entire mainstream media, likewise, has also been bought off by the biotech industry and refuses to cover the truth about GMOs. (Which is why sites like GMO.news are becoming so popular among independent thinkers.

Hungary also rejecting America's Monsanto imperialism to produce GMO-free food for Europe

Hungary is also working hard to produce GMO-free food products for its own people. As reported on GMO.news:

Hungary's Ministry of Agriculture believes that keeping Hungarian agriculture GMO-free is a matter of "extremely high strategic importance." In fact, Hungary's Constitution states that:

Hungary shall promote the effective application of the right referred to in Paragraph (1) by an agriculture free of genetically modified organisms, by ensuring access to healthy food and drinking water, by organising safety at work and healthcare provision, by supporting sports and regular physical exercise, as well as by ensuring the protection of the environment.

Monsanto has infiltrated every institution in America: academic, media, government...

Monsanto, widely known as the world's most evil corporation, has turned the United States into a massive GMO experiment by recruiting a literal mafia of academics by offering them monetary bribes disguised as "grants." The University of Florida's disgraced agricultural scientist Dr. Kevin Folta was recently exposed for financial collusion with Monsanto -- a fact that even the New York Times could not ignore.

See the full document dump of Kevin Folta's once-secret emails with Monsanto at this link.

Monsanto's genetically modified seeds not only pose a risk of runaway genetic pollution and the collapse of food crops; the heavy use of cancer-causing glyphosate goes hand in hand with GM crops. Glyphosate is the deadly chemical that the Seralini study showed causing the growth of massive tumors in lab rats:



Here are some of the shocking findings from the Seralini study which was, of course, viciously attacked by the Monsanto Mafia and its cabal of paid-off, corrupt scientists:

• Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.

• Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.

• Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.

• The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that's grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that's in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.

Learn more about the scientific evidence showing the dangers of GMOs and glyphosate at GMOevidence.com. Or visit GMwatch.org or GMO.news to stay informed.
California has recently announced its intention to add glyphosate to its list of "known carcinogens," and the World Health Organization recently declared glyphosate a "probable carcinogen."

While the United States government openly colludes with Monsanto and the biotech industry to poison the American people with toxic GMOs and glyphosate, Russia apparently realizes that poisoning your own population is bad government.

Go figure.

Sources:
http://www.rt.com/politics/315844-government...
http://gmo.news/2015-09-18-hungary-plans-to-...
http://www.naturalnews.com/051214_Kevin_Folt...
http://www.naturalnews.com/051098_Monsanto_i...
http://gmo.news/2015-09-15-academic-hall-of-...
http://www.naturalnews.com/037249_GMO_study_...
http://www.gmoseralini.org/en/
http://www.gmoevidence.com/
http://gmwatch.org

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Academic GMO Shills Exposed: Once-secret Emails Reveal Gross Collusion with Monsanto, Academic Fraud at the Highest Levels inside U.S. Universities


T
uesday, September 08, 2015 by: Julie Wilson staff writer

(NaturalNews) U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the fraud and corruption surrounding the food industry, launched an investigation into the intimate and unethical relationship between the biotech industry and university faculty and staff, which is used to manipulate public opinion about GMOs and to coerce the government into passing legislation supportive of Big Ag's patented seeds and pesticides.

The investigation, which is still ongoing, reveals how biotech industry giants Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences and others, buy academics employed by taxpayer-funded universities to push GMOs and lobby Congress to pass legislation favorable of their products, with one of the most high-profile examples including attempts to derail states' rights to enact GMO-labeling laws.

The collusion between Big Food, its front groups and university staff has been exposed through thousands of emails and documents obtained through a USRTK Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which was meticulously filed over a six-month period.

USRTK: Public deserves to know about flow of money and level of coordination between Big Ag and public university scientists

The FOIA request sought to obtain emails and documents from 43 public university faculty and staff to learn more about the biotech industry's public relations strategies. Records were requested from scientists, economists, law professors, extension specialists and communicators, all of whom are employed by taxpayer-funded public institutions and steadily promote GMO agriculture under the "independent" research.

Currently, USRTK has received thousands of documents in nine of their requests; however, much more information is expected to be released as FOIA requests continue to be answered.

The documents received thus far expose how the biotech industry funds expenses for university faculty to travel the globe promoting and defending GMOs and their associated pesticides, highlighting the shift that scientists have made from being researchers to being actors in Big Ag PR campaigns.

Named the "Biofortified boys" by Alicia Maluafiti, executive director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA), a biotech front group, the academics were awarded thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrestricted grant money.

Dr. Kevin Folta, professor and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, is one of the biotech industry's most cooperative "Biofortified boys." Emails show that Folta was enlisted to travel to Hawaii and later to Pennsylvania to "testify to government bodies to oppose proposed mandatory genetically modified labeling measures."

Folta has repeatedly denied ties to Monsanto or having accepted funds from them; however, newly released documents prove otherwise, exposing him as a bald-faced liar and attack dog for the biotech industry.

Sponsored and organized by the HCIA, which includes Monsanto, DuPont, Dow AgroSciences, Syngenta and BASF, Folta and others were recruited to meet with local business execs to lobby against Hawaii's proposed GMO-labeling law.

HCIA's Maluafiti writes:


So please know that you are part of our overall public education strategy and specifically – how do we use your valuable time wisely while you are here in Hawaii (besides hitting the beaches!) I'd love to hear your thoughts. Aloha!


A second email authored by Renee Kester, wife of Dow AgroSciences R&D Leader Kirby Kester, who is also president of the HCIA, thanks them for their support:

First off I would like to thank you for all of the support you have given us over here in Hawaii with regards to our recent legislative battles, it means a lot to all of us over here.

Monsanto asks academics to author articles promoting GMOs

In an effort to influence "thought leaders and influencers," Monsanto reached out to Dr. Folta and other academics, asking them to author a series of pro-GMO policy briefs to be used for "outreach and engagement with policy makers and consumers." The briefs were to be promoted as being authored by "independent scientists."

Eric Sachs, the chief of Monsanto's global scientific affairs group wrote:

The key to success is participation by all of you – recognized experts and leaders with the knowledge, reputation and communication experience needed to communicate authoritatively to the target groups. You represent an elite group whose credibility will be strengthened by working together.

Recognizing participants' careers are at stake, Sachs offers the academics assurance by promising that he will protect their "independence," as well as their reputations.

Some of the topics the academics were asked to write on include: 


Meeting World Challenges
(discuss how GMOs will save the world by addressing shrinking agricultural resources, food security, food affordability and environmental sustainability).

Stifling Innovation (discuss how GM crop regulations stifle technological advancements and prevent GMOs from improving overall quality of life). 

Holding Activists Accountable – assigned to Kevin Folta (discuss how anti-GMO activist campaigns spread false information and if left unchallenged will limit consumer choice, increase food prices, decrease farmer viability and undermine global food security). 
GM Crop Safety (address consumer and policy maker concerns that GM crops aren't tested for safety, convince public that they are proven safe). 
Consequences of Rejecting GM Crops (address public health fears and political resistance and concerns about biodiversity and biological safety and intellectual property rights that create barriers to GM acceptance). 
Sustainable Crop Systems (discuss how GM crop technology provides environmental benefits, increases yields and improves productivity). 
Responsible Choice (highlight the role GM crop technology plays in ensuring increase production and how it balances our needs for food, feed, fiber and fuel). 

Academics were asked to include a "call to action," which would be used in the briefs to influence the public on a variety of platforms including social media, blogs, websites and allied organizations.

Montano enlists university scientists to pressure EPA to abandon proposed pesticide regulations

Documents reveal that Monsanto also used academics to put pressure on regulatory agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – in one instance pressuring the EPA to abandon its proposal to tighten regulations regarding pesticide use on insect-resistant crops.

"Is there a coordinated plan to maintain pressure and emphasis on EPA's evolving regulations?" asked Sachs in an email to Dr. Bruce Chassy, a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Sachs continued, "Have you considered having a small group of scientists request a meeting with Lisa Jackson [referring to the EPA's administrator at the time]?"

With the help of an industry lobbyist, Chassy was eventually able to set up a meeting with Jackson, after which the agency's proposal was ultimately dropped.

Stay tuned for more as Natural News continues to dissect documents exposing the incestuous relationship between the biotech industry and university scientists.

Additional sources:

GMO.news

DocumentCloud.org

USRTK.org

InsideHighered.com

USRTK.org

NYTimes.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Is Your Pet Eating GMOs?

Here are some things you should know the next time you buy your pet's food.



SEP 2, 2015



Sara Tan is a lifestyle writer and editor who is obsessed with all things fashion, food, and pop culture. When she's not sitting behind her laptop, you can find her perusing the (online) sale racks, spinning at SoulCycle, or eating her way through Los Angeles with her French Bulldog by her side.

Unless you’ve been avoiding the grocery store and the evening news, you’ve likely heard of the term GMO. Americans are learning more about genetically modified organisms in food and educating themselves about the effects of them on humans. But what about our furry friends?

Here are some things you should know the next time you buy your pet's food.

There Is A High Chance That Your Pet’s Food Is Made With GMOs

Unless you’re buying GMO-free kibble or kibble without soy, corn, or wheat, there’s a good chance your pet’s food is made with GMOs. According to Doginton Post, 88% of the corn used in pet foods and animal feed and 93% of soybean crops are genetically engineered, per the 2011 International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report. It’s not only just the corn and soy products that are going into your pet’s food, it’s also the protein. Unless your dog or cat’s food is labeled GMO-free or organic, it’s likely the beef, chicken, or turkey in it was raised on animal feed with GMOs.

Pet Food Made With GMOs Are Difficult To Identify

The FDA has not mandated that foods containing GMOs be labeled as such, although initiatives to do so have been proposed at both the state and national level. Until then, the U.S. considers GM crops to be “substantially equivalent” to non-GMO crops, technically making them recognized as being safe. What does that mean? Even dog or cat kibble that is labeled “all natural,” can still be made with GMOs.

If You Want To Avoid Feeding Your Pet GMOs, Carefully Read The Food Package

How can you help your pet’s diet be free of GMOs? Read your pet food label closely. Look for food that is labeled certified organic or GMO-free. Make sure that the protein used is sourced from cage-free and free-range animals. And if that seems too difficult to sort through, know that there are plenty of pet food brands on the market that are non-GMO verified


This sponsored story is presented in collaboration with Petco.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Food Fight 2015: Taking Down the Degenerators


Sep. 13, 2015, Organic Consumers Association

If governments won’t solve the climate, hunger, health, and democracy crisis, then the people will… Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy. - Dr. Vandana Shiva, speaking at the founding meeting of Regeneration International, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica, June 8, 2015

Degenerate—(verb) to decline from a noble to a lower state of development; to become worse physically and morally; (noun) a person of low moral standards; having become less than one’s kind…”. - New Webster’s Dictionary, 1997 Edition

Welcome to Degeneration Nation.

After decades of self-destructive business-as-usual—empire-building, waging wars for fossil fuels, selling out government to the highest bidder, lacing the environment and the global food supply with GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, toxic sweeteners, artery-clogging fats, and synthetic chemicals, attacking the organic and natural health movement, brainwashing the body politic, destroying soils, forests, wetlands, and biodiversity, and discharging greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere and the oceans like there’s no tomorrow—we’ve reached a new low, physically and morally.

Distracted by know-nothing media conglomerates and betrayed by cowardly politicians and avaricious corporations, homo sapiens are facing, and unfortunately in many cases still denying, the most serious existential threat in our 200,000 year evolution—catastrophic climate change, compounded by deteriorating public health and the dictatorial rise of political elites and multinational corporations such as Monsanto.

Unless we move decisively as a global community to transform our degenerative food, farming and energy systems, we are doomed.

To reverse global warming and restabilize the climate, we will need not only to slash CO2 emissions by 90 percent or more, taking down King Coal and Big Oil and converting to renewable sources of energy, but we must also simultaneously remove or draw down 100-150 ppm of the excess (400 ppm) CO2 and greenhouse gases that are already overheating our supersaturated atmosphere. How do we accomplish the latter? Through regenerative agriculture and land use.

Fortunately, this is possible because more and more consumers are connecting the dots between what’s on their dinner plates and what’s happening to Planet Earth. 


They, along with environmentalists, animal rights, food justice, climate and health activists, have created a global grassroots movement aimed at dismantling our destructive, degenerative industrial food and farming system. And despite Big Food’s desperate attempts to maintain the status quo, this powerful movement is escalating the war on degeneration.

Under siege, Big Food fights back

On the food, natural health and anti-GMO fronts, our battles for a new regenerative (non-GMO, non-chemical, non-factory farm, non-fossil fuel) food, farming and land use system are educating and energizing millions of people.

The profits of the big junk food, chemical, and GMO corporations are falling, while demand for organic and climate-friendly grass fed foods continues to skyrocket.

In the last quarter Monsanto’s profits fell by 34 percent, while the company’s highly publicized attempt to buy out agri-toxics giant Syngenta fell flat, in no small part due to the “worst corporation in the world” reputation that the global Millions Against Monsanto Movement has managed to hang around Monsanto’s neck.

In the U.S., the growing power of the anti-GMO movement has forced the passage of a game-changing mandatory GMO labeling law in Vermont. The Vermont law will go into effect July 1, 2016, forcing national brands to either remove GMOs from their products or label them. 

The Vermont law will also make it illegal to label GMO-tainted foods as “natural.” Many national brands have already begun removing bogus “natural” or “all natural” claims from their packaging.

Consumer pressure on Whole Foods Market (WFM) has likewise forced the organic and natural products giant to declare that all 40,000 foods, including meat and take-out, in WFM stores will have to be labeled as GMO or GMO-free by 2018. Other chains, such as the rapidly growing Natural Grocer, have already gone GMO-free.

While a number of major food brands and chains, such as Hershey’s and Chipotle’s, have already begun removing GMOs from their products, the impending Vermont law has created panic among the Biotech Bullies, with Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association attempting to ram through the passage of the draconian, highly unpopular DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act (H.R. 1599) in Congress, even though 90 percent of Americans want GMO foods labeled.

The DARK Act will nullify the Vermont GMO labeling law and take away the long-established constitutional right of states to label foods and regulate food safety. But such a blatant attack on states’ and consumer rights will also likely create a major backlash. 

Even the mass media has warned that the forced passage of the DARK Act, either through Congressional vote, or more likely, a back-room-deal rider inserted into a Federal Appropriations bill, will likely enrage health and environmentally conscious consumers. As Fortune magazine reports, Big Food may indeed be able to ram through the unpopular Dark Act, but this outrageous maneuver will likely lead to “a classic case of winning the battle and losing the war.” 

The global grassroots swarm: next steps

Now that we’ve stung Monsanto and Food Inc. (corporate agribusiness) with thousands of campaigns, boycotts, protests, litigation and legislative efforts, what are our next steps in the great 2015 Food Fight?

Defeat the DARK Act in the U.S. Every major anti-GMO and alternative food and farming network in the U.S. is now mobilizing against the DARK Act, which has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives 275-150. 

We must mobilize, as never before, to stop this outrageous bill in the Senate. But we must also be prepared for dirty tricks, a secret rider inserted into one or more Congressional Appropriations Bills that will not require an open debate or vote in the Senate. 

And if, despite all our efforts, the DARK Act becomes law, we must be prepared to carry out our own skull-and-crossbones labeling by aggressively testing all of the major (non-organic) U.S. food brands, including meat and animal products, and by exposing the GMOs, pesticide residues, antibiotics, hormones and growth promoters that make these degenerate foods unfit for human consumption. Following our exposure of Food Inc.’s dirty little secrets, we must then launch an ongoing boycott to drive these foods off the market.

Expand and deepen our message. We need to change our campaign message from “Boycott and Ban GMOs” to “Boycott and Ban GMOs, as well as the toxic chemicals, animal drugs and factory farms that are an integral part of the industrial/GMO food and farming system.” 

GMOs in processed foods are a major threat to our health and the environment, but they are only part of the problem of our degenerate food system. Polls consistently show that U.S. consumers are equally alarmed by the toxic pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic hormones in non-organic foods. 

We need to emphasize that GMOs are pesticide delivery systems, and that GMOs are not only found in most processed foods and beverages, but they are also found in nearly all non-organic, non-grass fed meat and animal products. 

Every bite of factory-farmed meat, dairy or eggs, every sip of factory-farmed milk, not only contains GMOs, but also the toxic pesticides, antibiotics and animal drugs that are slowly but surely destroying public health. We also need to point out that every time you pull up to the gas pump, you are filling up your tank with not only greenhouse gas-emitting gasoline, but Monsanto’s chemical-intensive, soil destroying GMO corn ethanol as well.

Frame the overall fight as degenerative food, farming and land use, versus regenerative agriculture and land use. Even before GMOs hit the market in 1994, in the form of Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone, America’s industrial food and farming system was terrible for human health, the for the environment, farm animals and rural communities. 

If we somehow managed to get rid of all GMOs tomorrow, our (non-organic) food system would still be degenerating our health, biodiversity, water quality, and most importantly, our climate. The industrial food and farming system, with its destructive deforestation and land use, is the number one cause of global warming and climate disruption. 

But at the same time as we expose the hazards of industrial food and farming we must spread the good news that regenerative agriculture is not only better for our health, but that it can fix the climate crisis as well, by sequestering in the soil several hundred billion tons of excess atmospheric carbon over the next two decades. We need to Cook Organic, not the Planet. This requires a new message, and a broader coalition beyond simply “GMO-free.”

Get ready to go to war. Given how desperate Monsanto and Big Ag have become, we must prepare for any eventuality. The reason Big Food and Big Biotech are escalating the war against consumer choice and food safety is because a critical mass of the public no longer believes the lies. 

Monsanto and Big Food understand full well that they are losing the battle for the hearts and minds and consumer dollars of the majority, not only in the U.S. but globally. That’s why they are pushing the DARK Act and negotiating secret international trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, deals that would take away consumer rights to label and ban GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics and other dangerous animal drugs. 

This is no longer simply a food fight, but a war. We need to step up our public education, grassroots mobilization and most importantly, our marketplace pressure and boycotts.

Link together the food, farm, forest, climate and economic justice movements. The climate crisis, even though many people don’t understand this yet, is the most important issue that humans have ever faced. The food and farm movement needs to move beyond single-issue campaigning to challenge the entire system of industrial agriculture, junk food, ethanol production and factory farming. 

We need to educate people to understand that industrial food and farming, GMOs, destructive deforestation and land use, and mindless consumerism are the major causes of global warming and climate destabilization. 

There will be no GMO-free, or organic food on a burnt planet. At the same time the climate movement must move beyond its 50-percent solution (reducing and eliminating fossil fuel emissions), to the 100-percent solution of zero emissions plus maximum carbon sequestration in the soils and forests through regenerative organic agriculture, planned rotational grazing reforestation, and land use.

The hour is late, but we, the global grassroots, still have time to mobilize and act, to regenerate the system before it further degenerates us.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Eight States, Environmental Groups Back Vermont in GMO Labeling Lawsuit

Erin Mansfield, Sep. 2, 2015

Some products contain a voluntary label indicating they were produced without GMOs. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Eight states and several organizations have filed briefs in federal appeals court supporting Vermont’s food labeling law, joining the state in its battle against corporate interests.

Attorneys general in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire and Washington filed a friend-of-the-court brief this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.

Four environmental groups — the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, or VPIRG, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Cedar Circle Farm, and Rural Vermont — also filed a friend-of-the-court brief. Several doctors, scientists, and business groups also support Vermont.

“The legislative process for this law was very thorough and thoughtful, and there are many reasons why this law is different from Vermont’s rBST labeling law,” Murphy said. “We look forward to seeing this case through.”Laura Murphy, associate director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, said in a statement that Vermont Law School was “honored” to file the brief on behalf of the four environmental groups that were “so instrumental” in passing the 2014 law.”

By fall the Second Circuit is expected to hear oral arguments, and the court is on track to make a decision by the end of 2015. Depending on what’s decided, that could push the case back down to U.S. District Court in Vermont for a trial, according to Attorney General Bill Sorrell.

“We’re pleased to have the help of businesses, of states, and the various other organizations favoring food safety and consumer rights,” Sorrell said. “Basically, it’s a First Amendment case, freedom of speech.”

The law would go into effect in on July 1, 2016, with two main parts: Manufacturers would need to say there are genetically engineered products in their food, and they would not be allowed to call their products “natural” if the food contained genetically engineered materials.

Sorrell compares the lawsuit to a historic case that required meat packers to show the country of origin. “It’s a straightforward, non-editorialized (labeling),” he said. “It’s not like tobacco products that say ‘hazardous to your health’ or whatever.”

The plaintiffs are four food manufacturers associations: the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association. The groups appealed a decision from U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss that upheld Vermont’s law.

Most recently, in June, the Grocery Manufacturers Association wrote to Gov. Peter Shumlin to say that its members could end up paying $10 million per day in fines. The group said that was too much money considering that Vermont is the second-smallest state in the country.

Shumlin issued a snarky response: “Here’s an idea for the industry: Just label your products. All of them, nationwide. Sixty-four countries already do it. I’m sure the food industry in America could summon the moral imagination to be the 65th.”

Sorrell said the state or the food groups might end up asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the
issue. “I guess I’ll be surprised if the Second Circuit decision is the end of the case,” he said.