Why We Oppose GMO Labeling: Science and the Law


Co-authored by Bruce Chassy and Jon Entine

This is Part III of a III part series.
Part I: “Although Some GMO Sympathizers Embrace Mandatory Labeling, It’s A Disaster In Waiting”, is readable

Research shows and the Food and Drug Administration affirms that there is no safety or compositional difference between GM foods and their conventional counterparts. But some people believe there is a difference, or have other motives such as a desire to put a halt to genetic engineering or promote other forms of food production such as organic agriculture, and therefore believe labels are appropriate.

At the end of the day, even if Congress should pass a labeling law, it would be up to courts to decide if there is a material difference in any particular food to the extent that it trumps a developer’s First Amendment rights, which protects it from forced prejudicial speech. State labeling laws have in addition the problem of pre-emption of federal labeling authority so they will be headed to court, as is the case in Vermont.

There are other legal arguments against forced labeling. Suffice to say that if the states or federal government pass such laws the courts will ultimately decide their legitimacy. Thus labeling is not about what the people want or what the industry wants, it’s about how the courts interpret our constitution and laws. One role of the court system is to temper public passions. Another is to hold those who govern in check. We are in for a long legal battle on labeling.

We do not agree with those who predict that there will be an endless flow of state initiatives being voted upon. The Vermont case will tell us a great deal. If the courts find the law unconstitutional it’s —> Read More