Gov. Peter Shumlin holds out slim hope that lawmakers and his administration can devise legislation that will require genetically modified organism or GMO labeling on food and sidestep future legal battles.
“I was hoping California would pass it so they could be the guinea pig on that one, but as you know it didn’t pass on referendum,” Shumlin said. “That’s too bad for us, that’s too bad for America. I would love to figure out a resolution to the GMO labeling bill without repeating what we’ve been through before.”
Shumlin said the GMO labeling bill is nearly identical to the bovine somatropin labeling bill that passed during the Dean administration in the 1990s, and failed to meet legal muster in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. For that reason, he suggested another state should take the issue on.
“Why would you go through that again if you could have it be litigated in a different court, different part of the country we’d get the outcome we’d want which is the labeling bill,” Shumlin said. “I think consumers should have the right to know what is in our food, but I don’t think we can get it through our court system because as you know we’ve already lost it there once.
“I would look to work on something that would work that would not require us to go through legal battles. Can we make some steps here that would avoid the courts who are going to just say hey not only did we beat you once but we’ve got the case law to show this is the same case.”
Last year a bill stalled in the House Judiciary Committee because of legal concerns raised by the Shumlin administration.