GMO Food

Unless a Federal Court Acts Fast, Vermont's GMO Labeling Law Will Wreak Havoc on the Nation's Food Supply Next Week

It's set to take effect next week and will cost food companies for no good reason.

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GMO Label
Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Newscom

Federal courts have just days to stop Vermont's unconstitutional, costly, and misguided genetically modified (GMO) food-labeling law from taking effect.

The law requires food marketers of all sizes to label foods that contain GMO ingredients and to have on file a sworn statement that declares any product that doesn't have a GMO label does not contain any GMO ingredients. Those who run afoul of the law could face legal challenges from the state and from consumers, and a $1,000 fine for each violation.

The first-in-the-nation law, set to come into force on July 1, has already caused massive upheaval among food companies, which will be forced to label any food containing GMO ingredients that's sold in Vermont. That includes most foods derived from corn, soy, canola, or sugarbeets.

Study after study has confirmed GMOs are harmless to consume. Most recently, a major study released last month by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that GMOs are safe to eat.

A lawsuit challenging the Vermont law, filed in federal court in 2014 by a national coalition of grocers, is currently before a federal appeals court, which heard arguments in the key First Amendment case more than eight months ago but has yet to issue a ruling. Unless that court or another federal court issues an injunction to block the law before it takes effect, the Vermont law will wreak havoc on the nation's food supply.

The burden posed by Vermont's law isn't contained within the state's borders. Some regional, national, and international companies that sell food in Vermont and in other states—even those hoping a federal court blocks the law from taking effect—have moved to place Vermont's mandated GMO label on foods they sell in all fifty states. Campbell's and Kellogg's, for example, have announced they'll label all products nationwide with a Vermont-compliant "produced with genetic engineering" label, where applicable.

At best, that's a temporary fix. If another state were to pass its own law requiring different language on its GMO label (i.e., "contains GMO ingredients" rather than Vermont's mandated "produced with genetic engineering"), food companies would be forced to create multiple labels: one for foods sold in Vermont, another for foods sold in the other state, and yet another for foods sold in states that rightly don't require labeling.

If that sounds expensive and burdensome, that's because it is. Complying with Vermont's label rules has already cost food companies of all sizes millions of dollars in labeling changes. And the enormous costs of complying with Vermont's law will be passed along to consumers across the country, in the form of higher food prices. Estimates show the added costs could be nearly $4 billion. It's cases like this that have spurred the Supreme Court to hold the federal Constitution forbids states from acting to restrain interstate commerce.

As the deadline approaches, companies are rushing to meet the strict guidelines to avoid hefty fines and lawsuits "Companies are most worried about non-compliance," said Erin Sigrist, a spokeswoman with the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association. "There are questions spanning the entire stream of commerce that continue to pop up every day, questions that no one would think of unless they're living the process every day."

This week, the U.S. Senate inched toward a compromise that would, if passed, prohibit laws like Vermont's from taking effect. But even if that bill were to become law, it won't come in time to halt Vermont's law from taking effect next week.

Because of Vermont's mandatory GMO-labeling law, consumers, farmers, and food producers in Vermont and across America may be forced to live not just with the unconstitutional process but also with its untenable costs. It's time for our federal courts to do their job and put a halt to this law before it does further damage.

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  1. It would probably cost less for manufacturers to just stop selling their products in Vermont.

    1. Yep, how does 2/10ths of one percent of the population force nationwide compliance? If VT were a city it wouldn’t even be in the top 25 population wise. I’d think Campbell’s and Kellogg’s would do just fine without that slice of the market pie.

      1. Yeh but what happens, encouraged by Vermont, when California does it?

        1. How will not having familiar brands, or any brands at all, on the grocery store shelf induce California to copy that law ?

          1. Because California, like Texas, knows it is big enough to bully any company with national market aspirations into compliance. A bit surprised that anyone is playing ball with Vermont, though.

            1. If the big producers have decided the writing is on the wall, it is in their interests to get compliance out of the way. Consumers will have no choice but to accept the higher prices, because the cost of compliance will eliminate competition that can’t afford to comply.

              Soon, all restaurants will be Taco Bell.

            2. I am looking for just ONE “XYZ Foodies Inc.” to publish this:
              “XYZ Foodies foods are hereby declared illegal in the State of Vermont. In recognition of the oblivious EVILS of Frankenfoods, as have been PROVEN in the Sacred Minds-Emotes of the Verminontians (and can therby never be disproven), XYZ Foodies Inc hereby bows in humble obsequiousness. Verminontians cannot be reasoned with, and so therefor? XYZ Foodies Inc obliviously not being empowered by Government Almighty to make these decisions, obliviously? BUT, the Corporate Officers (of said Corp. of XYZ Foodies Inc.) hereby and always-by Do Sinseverely Declare, that ANYONE henceforce being found to willfully being caught red-handed in the willful act of selling XYZ Foodies Inc products, in the GMO-cooties-free Sacred State of the Verminontians, should be PUNISHED SEVERELY by having his or her entire estate of Resident Evil, NUKED till it GLOWS!!!!” (Someone somewhere has to make an EXAMPLE of the Evil-Doers, Dammit!)
              Whichever XYZ Foodies Inc is the first to proudly make this statement, I Hereby and Alwaysby do sinseverely promise, I will derive at least 3/4 or my foodies-calories for the next 3 months, or moah, from their foodies, and their foodies alone, in Due Honor to their Courage?

          2. What part of “California” don’t you understand?

          3. Dude…it’s CALIFORNIA. They love this kind of stuff, no?

        2. We have GMO labeling? Change? What’s your point?

      2. ” I’d think Campbell’s and Kellogg’s would do just fine without that slice of the market pie.”

        I had exactly this thought. I would like to see food producers get together and say “Fine we won’t sell any food in Vermont”

        Let them starve. How long do you think it would be before that law was repealed?

        1. Too long, there’s enough people who shop at co-ops and city market to ignore the rednecks going hungry for a while.

          1. do we really need three different kinds of grocery stores in this country when children are going hungry?

          2. do we really need three different kinds of grocery stores in this country when children are going hungry?

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  2. Yep, how does 2/10ths of one percent of the population force nationwide compliance?

    Ask an alleged, self-identified “transgender” person. Very small, but very vocal groups have been forcing all sorts of majority groups to conform to the will of tiny minority groups for a while. Regardless if it is beneficial writ large.

  3. You know who else wanted to label undesirables

    1. Christiane Amanpour?

    2. Mr Yuk?

  4. I thought the commerce clause was to keep commerce ‘regular’? In other words,to keep states from erecting trade barriers and tariffs between them.Or was it to stop people from growing their own wheat?

  5. I am all for this type of labeling.

    Other than certain board members of this site that probably have an interest in the food industry, who else would have a problem with knowing whether the food is GMO?

    1. I don’t.

      If I buy authentic gold jewelry, I would like to know how much of the trinket is gold, e.g. 10K, 14K, 18K, 24K, etc. Since I don’t know *any* person who can look at a gold trinket and know *exactly* the composition, I rely on a stamp (label) to tell me what the rating is.

      At one time, jewelry makers and others dealing in gold in the USA were permitted a 0.25 karat allowance either over or under the karat stamp (and you can bet your left gonad where most trinket compositions fell). Whereas in other parts of the world (Europe and Russia, in particular, immediately come to mind), if it’s stamped 14K, it had better be *exactly* that.

      The above rationale also applies to precious stones, whether naturally mined, or created artificially in the lab.

      The food labels simply tell me more about the composition of the foodstuff and can inform me of its authenticity.

      1. Of course,there’s the fact that pretty much all foods have been modified ,by breeding,radiation or gene modification.

        1. Husbandry is the old fashioned way, and can be tracked by breeds and bloodlines, be it flora or fauna.

          Food irradiation simply kills surface pathogens, thus making the food (in theory) healthier to consume.

          Gene modification is a bit different, and that entails artificially induced or created genomics introduced into a particular organism. It’s husbandry allright, but of the petri dish variety, v. the old fashioned way.

          I don’t see why, since these methods of food source creation and preparation are demonstrably different and is, in fact different families of products, it wouldn’t be in the consumers interest to let them know beforehand.

          Some people, for whatever reason, be it rational or irrational, have some preconceived idea how they want their food to be; what’s wrong with full disclosure?

          1. I’m not talking about irradiation.At one time seeds were bombarded with radiation to get mutations.Some worked,many didn’t.Many vegetables called GMO free were created this way.Irradiation is another process that is very useful,but,not what I was talking about.

          2. The reference to radiation above was to the practice of radiating seed to cause random DNA mutations in the hope that one or more mutations would prove useful. Radiation’s shotgun to GMO’s rifle.

            1. Thank you.

          3. Ah! Thanks gents, I had forgotten about, “The Glowing Veggies” method. *chuckles* Thank you for reminding me. As some of you know, I live in, as Warty put it once, “The Land of Famine and Radiation,” AKA Ukraine.

            FWIW, the notion of irradiated flora and fauna, even though the Chjornoby area is starting come back, and many of the florae and fauna are becoming more healthy, fears of radiation, and if you live close enough to Chjornobyl area, still have to test water and soil frequently.

            An interesting idea, the glowing veggies, but the predictability curve was for shit.

            Perhaps, I should have mentioned that UKR in general happens to be a bit hyper-sensitive about being a Real Life version of Fallout.

          4. “Some people, for whatever reason, be it rational or irrational, have some preconceived idea how they want their food to be; what’s wrong with full disclosure?”

            I can’t help but notice that every non-GMO brand has “NO GMOS!!!” and “GMO FREE!!!!” splashed across the label in giant font, making it very easy to find non-GMO foods if you want them.

            So what exactly is the problem that necessitates a law about GMO labelling?

          5. Then I want a label on all non-GMO foods (excepting wild berries, fish, and some fungi) which states,

            “WARNING: This product contains unknown and uncontrolled genetic mutations.”

            Fair labeling, right? And it’s quite true.

            1. Bravo.

          6. Because it is a waste of time and money. The food is safe and nutritious. That’s all you need to know.

            1. Generally speaking, I don’t have strong opinions on the whole “GMO food” topic.

              But “that’s all you need to know”? That’s not your call to make.

          7. The problem with the genomic splicing method is that those doing the splicing often don’t know what long term or follow-on effects will be even if they do know exactly what the splice does in the short term — and sometimes they don’t even know everything in the short term.

            As an extreme example, what if someone splices the traits that make bitter almonds deadly into a corn crop? Anyone who eats that corn dies. Granted, it’s bad business to do that to your customers, but the fact that something like that might be done accidentally does not make anyone less dead. No one wants to find out ten years from now that the food they have been eating has a 100% chance of causing cancer.

            Traditional husbandry methods have known effects, and have been tested over decades or centuries. Some people would rather wait for a longer testing period with new methods or new food strains, rather than take the risk. Labeling allows you to do that. It may be needlessly cautious, but it should be your decision, not some corporate executive on the other side of the planet.

            Labeling GMO products is no different than putting nutrition labels or ingredient lists on products. If one is constitutional, then the others are. And honestly — If they have nothing to hide, what are they so afraid of people learning?

            1. What if they used cuttle fish DNA? I need to know if my tomato is going to camouflage itself in the back of the refrigerator.

      2. If you have some sort of need to know if your food meets some arbitrarily, scientifically meaningless criteria randomly concocted by some group of superstitious nutjobs, then why not only buy foods with a “GMO free” label? There are plenty of them; one of the nation’s biggest and best supermarket chains, Whole Foods, operates largely off of a business model of selective pricing to customers with a wide variety of such meaningless fixations (“organic,” “responsibly sourced,” etc).

        1. And if I an some poor schmuck who is neither rich enough or hip, slick, and cool enough to shop at Whole Foods, but want to shop at some other store where bulk pricing may net me the better deal, why can’t I have that?

          Science brought us nifty, but admitted artificial ways of speeding up husbandry, to increase a food supply, which is good.

          What’s the big deal letting me know what’s in it? Regardless of the reason, *I’M* the customer here, and it’s the manufacturer’s onus to tell me. If a particular state wishes to compel manufacturer’s to cough up how a particular product is made, and/or it’s composition, I don’t see much of a problem here.

          Those, “meaningless* fixations, as you put it, can, and do, determine both brand and product loyalty.

          1. “Make money, get bitches”

            There nothing wrong with *wanting* anything. But you gotta have the money to make it happen in a free market. Because it costs the other party something to meet your frivilous desires.

            1. Because it costs the other party something to meet your frivilous [sic] desires.

              The customer is always right, yes? *grins*

          2. This is a libertarian website, and you are obviously not arguing anywhere close to within the premises of that philosophy. So you will confuse a lot of people here with exactly what you are trying to say.

            Nonetheless, I am a former big-government paternalistic “liberal,” so I can give you an answer from that perspective as well. It is the state’s “right,” from this perspective, to mandate labels for this sort of thing, but we are talking about whether it should. And it should not, because the “GMO” designation is arbitrary nonsense, little better than a “not blessed by a witch doctor” designation. It does consumers no “good,” from a paternalistic perspective, to know whether a product contains GMOs or not; to the contrary, labelling actually misleads consumers into believing that there is some significance. They expect government to make that judgment for them, and when they see a government-mandated label “contains genetically engineered ingredients” they draw that conclusion.

            1. This is the reasoning behind government-mandated labels–paternalism. It is for “consumer protection.” It is not undertaken with the idea that the government mandates a label for anything the consumer might want labelled. That would be chaos. Rather, they make that decision for you, based on the input of scientists and their assessment of your best interests.

              The argument you put forth makes sense from neither the liberty nor the paternalist perspective. It is neither fish nor fowl. Instead you have concocted some sort of “consumer’s right to know” that probably reflects folk opinion but upon closer examination is completely untenable as a governing principle.

              1. Well said, Diego.

              2. ah, thanks for that epiphany. If the purpose of government is to help us make the right decisions, then they should be on the side of GMO. If the purpose of government is someone less than that, then let the consumer demand the labeling.

            2. *peers across the Black Sea, hoping to view that elusive True Scotsman*

              I left the USA to come a to former Soviet Bloc country, to make my way practicing surgery and medicine as I see fit (I’m a licenced physician, by the by). And both my wife and I nearly shot by Separatists and the Red Army who really didn’t (and probably still don’t) give a rat’s ass about not imposing regs, the NAP, and all sorts of other stuff in the Donbass Region. We escaped from there and had to start over again, and doing very well in a short period of time.

              If *THAT’S* not (l)iberarian enough for you, then kindly fuck off and die of forceful rectal insertion of a freshly broken vodka bottle. I can do without your condescension, TYVM.

              Granted, the 10th A is pretty much a soiled bevnap at this point, but do keep in mind it works both ways, you aren’t the center of the universe either. With that attitude, you may even repel more potential prospects for the message than you to whom you appeal.

              Now, if the designation goes to or informs a particular claim or brand of product, YES, a particular state *CAN* impose regs relating to the veracity of that claim, which was simply my point. Some people, for whatever reason, want to know beforehand. Some states may think it prudent to do so. You disagree. Fine.

              1. Ah, now I understand the actual perspective you were coming from. You’re a fucking psychopath.

                You actually had me going there for a while, what with seeming halfway reasonable and not giving voice to your torture fantasies and so forth. But I think I’ll bow out, and be thankful for not the first time that I’m vigilant about protecting my online anonymity. Good day, sir.

                1. ???

                  Simply giving you my perspective, sir. Some people talk about freedom, others act to insure theirs. Mine is practicing medicine without ObamneyCare hanging over my head. That’s why I expatriated.

                  Your tone of voice implied I am some sort of statist shitbag who doesn’t know the first thing about yearning for freedom, and I didn’t particularly care for it. GMO labels =/= an invading army in Donbass, and Russia retaking Kreml.

                  If you don’t like unpleasant conversation, try not being a jerk to an opinion or argument contrary to yours. Treating others like they are stupid or their concerns trivial, isn’t terribly helpful either.

                  Do skoro, zdorove.

                2. Wow, Groovus, I think you may have offended the poor fellow.

                  1. Wow, Groovus, I think you may have offended the poor fellow.

                    It wouldn’t be the first time. *grins* And not really my concern, either. I know who my friends are here, and I don’t troll. As I said, having bullets come my way having our poliklinika shot up while being inside it, well, it puts things in perspective but quick. GMO labels aren’t that important, really.

                    Just because I may think that mandatory labelling is something a state can do, and giving a rationale besides, “THOSE FUCKING STATISTY FAGOOTY FUCKING STATIST RATBASTARD FUCKS!” isn’t necessarily bad nor not arguing in good faith.

                    I don’t like being patronised either, TM.

                    1. No worries, man. Glad to have you back, one way or the other. I think perspective is a big deal. It’s entertaining to discuss what might and might not be perfectly libertarian solutions in what would be an ideal liberty-friendly world, but given the circumstances the way they are now, I think libertarians as a whole have bigger fish to fry if they want to bring people into the fold. GMO labeling is towards the bottom of a very long list of statist abominations (which Reason covers to no small extent).

          3. “What’s the big deal letting me know what’s in it? Regardless of the reason, *I’M* the customer here, and it’s the manufacturer’s onus to tell me.”

            I’m a customer too. I’m not willing to pay additional money for labeling because I don’t give two fucks whether its GMO or not. What is the big deal letting me decide to buy the cheaper non-labeled stuff and letting you go to whole foods and buy the expensive GMO label stuff so you can better socially signal at your poetry slam? As it turns out people like me seem to be the majority so what you are really asking is why can’t I bend over the rest of the population and make them pay for stuff they don’t want to make my life more convenient?

            The answer should be obvious.

            1. As per your position, sure, that’s perfectly rational and reasonable, and I don’t disagree. Really. If don’t live in VT, then I guess it’s not a problem for you.

              My point is simply just because a minority of people may not have your concern, doesn’t necessarily invalidate theirs, even if you disagree.

              1. Then there isn’t anything wrong with producers pandering to this large portion of the market, and giving them the GMO free food and labels that they desire, what is wrong is forcing everyone or anyone to comply with your own personal concerns.

                1. what is wrong is forcing everyone or anyone to comply with your own personal concerns

                  Public Accommodation disagrees.

                  1. I guess I should have qualified that with “from a libertarian standpoint” but I think my point still stands.

                    1. I guess I should have qualified that with “from a libertarian standpoint” but I think my point still stands.

                      Nope, with Public Accommodation, your point is moot, unfortunately. It ain’t just for Gay Nazi Cakes.

                    2. Fuck public accomodation.

                    3. Fuck public accomodation.

                      Tell that to GayJay and Gelded Weld. And any Christian baker (Islamo-Mohammedans seem to get a pass here. Must be the edged weapons and occasional forced lead diets.)

                    4. As I said the other day, I will when they show up in the thread.

                2. what is wrong is forcing everyone or anyone to comply

                  Bingo. As libertarians we should be happy with any company that decides to put whatever they think their consumer wants to see on the label. Consumers can then choose which brand they wish, perhaps because of the labeling. Pure free market, good stuff.

                  With government force labeling of GMO, it implies that there is something very important about that, i.e. a warning to consumers that this is dangerous because of the GMO content, like cigarettes. And given there’s absolutely no danger to GMO, why force the issue? People for whom it’s important can get the labels that say it’s ‘non-gmo’, just like they can buy ‘organic’. We don’t have vegetables labeled “non-organic”!

                  Along these lines, does anyone know of an organization that supports the science and progress of GMOs, including having their members boycotting or not buying things (when possible) that label themselves as “non-GMO”? That would be a group I would join. I saw our Dreyers Ice Cream in the freezer had a ‘non-GMO’ label and it made me want to throw it out.

              2. If don’t live in VT, then I guess it’s not a problem for you.

                On the contrary. I’m paying for this even though I don’t live in VT, unless manufacturers out of the kindness of their heart choose to impose the extra costs only on residents of VT.

                1. On the contrary. I’m paying for this even though I don’t live in VT, unless manufacturers out of the kindness of their heart choose to impose the extra costs only on residents of VT.

                  And they are also passing along costs of taxation and liability insurance not only from VT, but also nationally, particularly if they are a national supplier.

                  I’m just not convinced the labelling is == Kristalnacht, I guess. If GayJay is perfectly fine for his Gay Nazi Cakes stance, well, I guess I am impure on labelling for authenticity/fraud reasons.

                  I don’t really have a dog in this fight, since I don’t live in the USA (EUR requires this stuff. Oj!)

                  1. If GayJay is perfectly fine for his Gay Nazi Cakes stance, well, I guess I am impure on labelling for authenticity/fraud reasons.

                    GMO labeling has absolutely nothing to do with authenticity or fraud, and GayJay actually supports a national GMO food labeling requirement, so I guess you’re in good company.

              3. Their concern about GMO is valid in the sense that they should not be prevented from buying what they want. Demanding that I pay for crap I don’t want because it makes things more convenient for them is not valid. Yes I get the law allows them to but so what. I am not arguing the law. I am arguing it is immoral to force me to pay for things I don’t want. And btw I could care less if the majority of people in VT want it. Democracy is never a legitimate justification for forcing your whims on other people.

          4. I assume anything without a non-gmo label os gmo.

            Why not adopt the same practice as with kosher labeling, leave it up yo free market to label?

          5. Allow me to answer all of your questions regarding exactly what products contain GMOs. If you are not rich and the label doesn’t say “NO GMO”, then it has GMO. Hope this helps.

            1. Good. Put the claim in writing. Like in medicine and law: “If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.”

              1. They source the food from wherever they can get it. Why would anyone go to the trouble of sourcing only GMO, then not getting a cert from an existing GMO-free organization?

                On most current products, there is no claim. They are not currently claiming it is either GMO or not GMO. It is not a claim until forced to display it.

                The most likely outcome is suggested below, that they follow the California cancer standard: this produce may contain GMO. Are you going to be happy then?

                1. Are you going to be happy then?

                  Me? Not my major concern, really. For people where it *is* a concern, sure, I imagine that should suffice, since it *is* an accurate claim of the product’s authenticity.

                  Just like people who may want real gas without ethanol v. fuel blends that, “May contain up to 10% ethanol.”

                  1. And having no claim is an accurate claim about that particular matter of fact. No claim means it might or might not.

                    1. Don’t force me to paraphrase a Rush song!

                    2. Don’t force me to paraphrase a Rush song!

                      LOLOL! Fair enough, and thank you for the pleasant discussion, Neal. Or Geddy. Or Alex. *grins*

                      I have to get ready to go out with wifey; it’s Date Night!

                    3. Thanks, have a good one.

                    4. And having no claim is an accurate claim about that particular matter of fact. No claim means it might or might not.

                      Which, apparently, is why VT imposed the labelling. “No claim,” is just that. Bupkis, nada, zip, unknown. Which is why I said, “If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.”

                      Fine, then an accurate *description of contents* of, “…[M]ight or might not,” for the sake of accuracy (which *is* important – and I should have clarifies this earlier. My sincerest apologies).

                    5. Ok… so where do we stop? I feel that hydrogen is a dangerous thing to have in my house. What’s wrong with forcing suppliers to put just a little label on their products that tells the exact mass of hydrogen atoms in their product. They should do it because I’m the customer and it’s my right to know!!! (Ignoring the fact that my fear is ridiculous… much like the GMO fears).

                      The reason you don’t force labels on GMO’s is because you don’t force company’s to put warnings on thingo about imagined unsafe conditions. And understand this… this isn’t about consumers right to know, this is about luddites who want to force the rest of the country to live in their simulated dark ages. Once the labels show up next week the campaign to ban them begins… after all they wouldn’t put that label there if it weren’t dangerous.

                2. …that they follow the California cancer standard…

                  And anyone who’s every spent any time in California knows how ridiculous the outcomes for that are.

                  Virtually every building open to the public is plastered with ridiculous “building may contain materials known to cause cancer…” signs. Maybe there is some paranoid nutjob somewhere who refuses to enter the grocery store, the hotel, the theater, the airport, the every-fucking-place that might contain cancer-causing materials, and I hope that idiot is happy, but the ludicrous over-labeling isn’t doing anyone but sign-makers any good.

            2. This. My red Bull doesn’t say “not organic “

          6. The way the Vermont law is written, you wouldn’t really be getting much information. Because of the way it is written, they have to put the label on unless they can positively affirm all the ingredients in the food come from non-GMO sources. It’s much, much easier for any “normal” food supplier, who may change ingredient suppliers frequently and without notice to just slap the “produced with genetic engineering” label on as a protection from liability, whether there’s actually any genetic engineering or not.

            Only the GMO-free nutjobs have any incentive to go through the laborious process of assuring otherwise.

            So, all you learn from the label is that it’s perfectly ordinary food.

            To go back to the core issue, from a libertarian perspective: government force isn’t needed here. Putting a metaphorical gun to a food supplier’s metaphorical head to force them to comply with your desired labeling scheme is a violation of the nonaggression principle.

            The libertarian answer is for you to go to the extra effort of buying food from companies that produce and market non-GMO food, if it’s so damn important to you.

        2. its

        3. Why should a person need to buy organic food to know that their tomato doesn’t contain fish dna?

      3. Is there any reason this couldn’t easily be handled privately though? If people genuinely have an interest in knowing these things before a purchase, then the sellers have incentive to make their product for concumer demand and to advertise their product as such. With your example of gold, the sellers would have every reason to adopt some type of third party verification system, as without this people would lack the confidence to buy their products. When you just arbitrarily decide that certain products must be labeled, you are not only compelling speech, but you have also insulated the process from the market forces relating to actual consumer preferences and are more likely to see it hijacked by industry lobbyists and activists who require labels that no one actually cares about.

        1. We already see this process with companies that certify foods Kosher or gluten free, and brands that have already long been advertising that they are GMO free, requiring additional and mandatory labeling is just bullying nonesense by people who deep down know that the public doesn’t actually care that much about their pet crusade.

        2. Is there any reason this couldn’t easily be handled privately though?

          Sure. Simply label your product as to how it was manufactured.

          When you just arbitrarily decide that certain products must be labeled, you are not only compelling speech

          No, you’re not; it holds the manufacturer accountable to the veracity of the claim of what the product is, particularly if the customer wants to know, and the onus should be on the manufacturer. If particular state wants to enact policy where manufacturers must disclose this stuff, well, that’s the right of that particular state.

          Fraudulent product claims aren’t protected speech.

          1. I have no problem with punishing actual fraud, that’s a different thing than mandating disclosure of any possible piece information that could possibly be relevant to someone.

            1. It’s like, if I sell you a necklace under the impression that it is 14k when it is actually 10, that’s different than saying any sale is illegal until I tell you this information, even if you really don’t care about the gold content.

              1. Caring and impressions about the product aren’t my point. My concern, TBH, is product fraud:

                Specifically, is the product what it actually claims to be? And how do you know your customer doesn’t care about the gold content? Do they have to get a lawyer and specify *every* concern in writing beforehand?

                If I perform surgery on you, and I didn’t use clean instruments, figuring I am giving you prophylactic antibiotics anyway, and you take longer to heal than typically within norms, but you eventually recover, are you going to sue me if you find out I didn’t use properly cleaned and sterilised instruments? Even though nothing really went wrong, and I didn’t make any claims while you didn’t think to ask? Caveat emptor goes only so far.

                PS

                Yes, I realise the example is a bit extreme, but if both can be reduced to simple products and services, then analogy becomes apt.

                1. I think we are in agreement for the most part. Anyone that sells a product by stating things that are actually false is guilty of fraud, and should be punished.

                  I know that people don’t necessarily care about information because they were willing to enter into a voluntary transaction without the information, if not having GMOs is so crucial to you, only buy products that have been certified to be free.

                  I think your analogy about surgery helps prove my point (although I would consider the unsterilized equipment to be a breach of an implied contract which is different). There are hundreds of pieces of information that might be somehow relevant, maybe a patient could want to know what company produced the tools you are using on them, does this mean that the state should require you to provide an itemized list of all your equipment, where it was bought, country of origin, etc., just because someone might want these? From my standpoint it makes far more sense to let consumers and providers negotiate labeling on their own, if someone for some reason wanted to know any of this information they would be free to ask you, and if you refused to give them this information a customer might find this shady and go find another surgeon who was willing to tell them what they wanted. If enough consumers shared this preference, you would likely see surgeons advertising that they comply with desired standards and would see increased revenue as a result.

                  1. I think we are in agreement for the most part. Anyone that sells a product by stating things that are actually false is guilty of fraud, and should be punished.

                    Yes, we are.:-)

                    Though, with my surgery example, if I agree to treat you, and you sign for me to perform a procedure, and I make no other claims or guarantees, strictly speaking, the only thing that matters is the outcome. (For the record, I and my staff and Sterile Processors observe best practices). You are not going to ask me every little question that only either a med mal atty or another surg professional would.

                    If you pull through and the surgery resolves, if you don’t know the better whether or not I was telling dirty jokes or even getting a BJ whilst doing your cystectomy, dirty tools or not, how is that breach of contract? Unless, of course I or someone else tells you (you would have been under general anaestheia at the time of surgery, in LaLa Land).

                    Which is why I used that example. Now, if I *disclosed* under legal obligation exactly what I am going to do, guarantee sterility, and cover all aspects that you haven’t thought to ask, *NOW* you have breach contract, and you now own everything of mine except my wife and children.

                    Because my work is so high risk and legally precarious, it will *ALWAYS* be highly regulated.

                    Some people consider food safety to be just as important.

                  2. here are hundreds of pieces of information that might be somehow relevant, maybe a patient could want to know what company produced the tools you are using on them, does this mean that the state should require you to provide an itemized list of all your equipment, where it was bought, country of origin, etc., just because someone might want these?

                    True, and this is why I have malpractice insurance. In the USA, I *DO* under state and federal law have to submit this information to the payee (either you if you are Self-Pay; or most likely, your insurance co.)

                    In UKR, I work at a private surgery, and yes, this information is provided to the patient and the Ministry of Health by law, since our patients are either privately insured or Self-Pay. (the vast majority).

                    Basically, yeah, the state does require full disclosure to the entity responsible for payment.

                2. I like the comparison to Kosher food. There’s a large minority of people who can only eat food that meets these standards. If someone is selling their food as Kosher when it really isn’t, that’s fraud.

                  However this doesn’t mean that we require all food that isn’t Kosher to label itsel as such, because if you are willing to buy food without this knowledge it clearly isn’t that important to you (which it isn’t for most non-Jewish people).

                  This is just one example of many, the market has a long history of being able to accommodate many different consumer preferences, I don’t see how this issue would be somehow different.

                  1. I like the comparison to Kosher food.

                    This is actually your best example, Mr. Smith. The one thing is, though, Kosher kitchen are routinely inspected by Depts. of Heath by an actual Rabbi (if available) or by someone who is thoroughly trained in Kosher S&P (almost always going to be a rabbinical of some sort).

                    And yes, Kosher food that is claimed Kosher is regulated so it’s either Kosher, Parve, or not Kosher by inspection of both public and private inspectors. Otherwise, just by looking, there is no way to tell if any foodstuff that is claimed Kosher is authentically so.

                    Which is the same as my points with GMO’s, gold, precious stones, and other things not immediately discernable as authentic and genuine.

                    1. Regulated by private entities, not the state.

                    2. Regulated by private entities, not the state.

                      True, robc, for Kosher authenticity. The facilities are still under the state’s eyeballs.

                      More on the Kosher standards and food safety.

                    3. not the state.

                      The NY Dept of Health, AFAIK, has inspectors of the major faiths where food safety and cultural (read faith) authenticity is an issue.

                      This may not be limited to NYC, and if I am wrong, apologies in advance.

                    4. The dept. of health is doing the same job they do at any food handling facility, they are not there to make sure the kosher-certification is 100% Yahweh Approved.

          2. Good points gentlemen. Something to ponder.

          3. Fraudulent product claims aren’t protected speech.

            All due respect, you’re a moron. Failing to label food products based on GMO content is no more fraud than failing to put the name and serial number of the cow on a package of ground beef is fraud. Labeling something ground beef when it’s actually ground pork is fraud. Labeling something “corn” when it is actually “corn” isn’t fraud, even if you fail to disclose the corn’s genetic ancestry. Jesus fucking Christ man…

            1. What country produced the sugar in my redbull. I have a right to know.

          4. States don’t have rights….

    2. Not me. Agriculture is but about genetically modifying food.

      Clearly you don’t care about the real consequences just to satisfy a meaningless term.

      Has anti-GMO been deemed settled science yet?

      1. No,never,and no vegetables have been proven to be ‘non organic’.

        1. 100% stellar-sourced carbon atoms.

          Applicable to – just about everything.

    3. Pretty much all food is GMO.

      Humans have altered everything that they eat regularly, caused huge shifts in distribution and range to foods they eat occasionally, and have altered the composition of the atmosphere.

      Everything alive has had it’s genetics altered in some way by humans unless it’s lifespan predates them as a species.

      Husbandry is what the initial phases of directed modification were called. These methods are still used–though a good deal of randomness is still at play.

      Attempting to force mutation via irradiation was another early modification method. It, too had a masive amount of randomness.

      Modern gene splicing techniques take wanted genes and splice them precisely where they’re wanted to do the task that specific gene does. Very little randomness is involved.

      We have gotten to the point where specificity is cellular–yet fear mongers act as if random characteristics are being tossed around willy-nilly and sent to store shelves.

    4. Fuck off, slaver…..(I’m a libertarian, lololololololol).

    5. Same here. If GMOs are harmless, what’s the harm in labeling food as such, if the consumers demand it? Ideally, this should of course be done through a market mechanism. But since big food is powerful and gets all kinds of privileges from the government, this isn’t too much to ask.

      1. What’s the harm in requiring non-GMO’s to label as such with no label on GMO’s? Prove that non-GMO’s are safe.

      2. Because it was explained in the article. Why don’t we just go back and disclose everything right down to the person who picked that grape!?

  6. Shopping in Vermont is an interesting spectacle. On one end you will encounter what I call the ‘Normies’. You know, normal people with normal customer and social skills. Then you get the ‘Abnormies’. The breed of hipsters who, endowed with a special advanced knowledge of what constitutes pure food, are borderline smug in their discourse.

    It’s a few times I’ve encountered the latter. And there’s the kicker. On both occasions it was with foods I’m quite familiar with. The most recent one with espresso. The girl behind the counter was all like ‘hey, what’s up I’m very cool and don’t ask me too many questions or else I will show what this barista is made up of.

    Bah. I may be looking into this a tad too much. But it’s how I entertain myself. I’m sure New Englanders could set me straight.

    1. I’m sure they all want to eat ‘locally sourced’ food all the time.How’s that work in the winter ,I wonder?

      1. You know who else wanted to eat “locally sourced”?

        1. The Donner Party, until they ran out of Indians?

      2. Oh, they market the shit out of ‘local’.

        1. Yeah,Walmart’s doing that,ignoring the fact that in much of the country that is impossible on a large scale and during oh,fall,winter and spring.

    2. ‘hey, what’s up I’m very cool and don’t ask me too many questions or else I will show what this barista is made up of.

      As in, presumes she knows more about espresso than youse and therefore – sneering and too cool for school to talk craft with a customer? Or was she rather “oh the angst, this annoying customer is cramping my style – go away as quickly as possible” type of deal? As far as the “New Englander” insight/perspective goes, I’d hazard a guess that your proximity to places like Burlington likely gives you more insight into Vermontey culture than most New Englanders unless you simply spend almost no time there.

      By the way, my wife, daughter and I secured a reservation at a place near Beaudry Jul 2-5th. I

      1. I [ASCII hearties] AirBnB – Reason treated the angle bracket as an open HTML tag

        1. If you want to use angle brackets, you have to use the super-secret html code for them, which I think is [ampersand]gt or [ampersand]lt.

          Let’s give it a try:

          < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3

          1. Aha! Success! Just replace the [ampersand]s with &.

      2. Been maybe, what, 35 times in my life? Even ran a couple of races there.

        In her case, I got the sense the latter. I wanted to know more about the coffee because it was very good. But I didn’t bother. Most people are eager to have a discussion but not her.

    3. The problem with New England is that New Englanders no longer control it.

      Flatlanders reign supreme from the shores of Lake Champlain to the coast of Maine.

  7. I love reason but this is your most untenable position.

    First off I thought reason was in favor of a state’s right to make its own laws? I thought Reason was in favor of a well informed populace?

    GMOs MIGHT be safe, there are plenty of studies that dispute the ones you cite above. But here’s one thing that bioengineers don’t like to admit: there’s very little evidence that GMOs produce more food per acre. Isn’t that supposed to be big promise of genetic engineering?

    What they do more than anything else is consume more pesticide and herbicide. And those of course are more dangerous.

    If companies are so concerned with the labeling laws they should simply stop selling in VT. And the ones that do sell there should simply label everything they sell. That’s a free market solution – not some legal or legislative maneuvering ( which by the way Reason seems to despise in nearly every other case)

    Shame on you Reason for being against educated consumers and pro agribusiness on an issue that clearly millions of consumers are concerned about.

    1. Just read this after I posted mine below. I should have just said “see KrissBerg.” Well said.

    2. LOL do all these people commenting actually fancy themselves libertarians, or are they just visiting to troll libertarians or part of some sort of Internet activist army that has been alerted to the presence of a pro-GMO article?

      First of all “Reason” is consistently in favor of just that, so they have never been the slightest bit interested in whatever pseudoscientific nonsense the alternative medicine crowd is peddling. Second even if they did think it was dangerous, like cigarettes, they would be against any sort of paternalistic regulation by government force. If you want your food “GMO-free,” or exorcised by a witch doctor, or whatever, you can buy food that chooses to label itself as such. And if they are found to have counterfeited the label of the certifying organization, you and the organization can sue the fuck out of them for fraud and Reason will back you 100%. Problem solved. Now mind your business and keep your silly superstitions the fuck out of my food supply.

      Oh, and who the fuck ever told you that libertarians were “in favor of a state’s right to make its own laws”? Go back to your Tea Party, chief; I think there are a few more black helicopter and chemtrail photos to swap since you’ve been away.

      1. I have to go with trolls.

        Love the ‘it’s to inform people’ bit.

        No. It’s completely useless and produces a false sense of security.

        It’s not rooted in anything scientific but – surprise – all emotional.

        Remember, Vermont shut down Vermont Yankee because oooo nuclear is icky.

        1. I have to go with trolls.

          I’m not a troll, Rufus. If it seems that way, it’s certainly not my intent.

          1. But,GM,as I said before,many crops are G.M.O thru radiation many years ago.BTY,G.M.O crops could hep many in poor countries by increasing yields and these anti G.M.O types are trying to stop them.

            1. Not disagreeing with you, Adans. If a particular local wants a manufacturer to simply label a product as to what it is, I am not seeing how that is stopping them from labelling then selling the product.

              And, as I physician, I don’t have a problem with GMO foods; my point is some people may want them labelled.

              Are you really suggesting that labelling a GMO product “GMO” is akin to The Holodmor?

              P.S. I know people here in UKR, whose families were personally affected by this, the stories are rather chiliing.

              1. We are suggesting that forcing them to do so is wrong.

                It’s the force that’s the problem.

              2. Compelled speech is the freest kind.

          2. Wasn’t intended for you at all, GM!

          3. No, you’re a Kick-awesome Surgeon(TM) with a Super-Hot eastern Euro-Wife(Also, TM) who left the US for ultra-free Ukraine and is totes OK with pointless, costly regulations, and has plenty of time to always be on here commenting, despite the aforementioned Kick-awesome Surgeon(TM)-ness and Super-Hot eastern Euro-Wife(Also, TM).

            We know. You’ve told us.

            1. Green is a terrible colour for you.

      2. @DiegoF, wow so angry. You should settle down. Funny that you label me a troll when your profane and childish response is Troll 101.

        Anyway, my libertarian solution to this, instead of the undecidedly un-libertarian NATIONAL labeling law (which Reason seems to feel is a proper solution) was that companies could simply not choose to do business there. That’s nice and free market isn’t it?

        And while it seems like libertarian utopia where companies get to choose what they reveal is in their products, go ahead and carry that whole argument to it’s logical conclusion. Libertarianism isn’t about protecting corporate interests, but the freedom and choice of the individual first. And how would an individual make informed decisions if companies simply had the option to label whatever they wanted?

        Don’t bother replying for my sake, I’m not going to read it. I’m going to go enjoy my Saturday, you should too.

        1. Thank you; I hope you enjoy your Saturday, too. But I’m on a very long line outdoors right now, so I have all the time in the world.

          This is a public forum, not a private messaging service, so don’t worry no one is posting solely for your sake. For anyone similarly stuck reading this stuff as I am, and who might be under the delusion that libertarianism is compatible with this nonsense (actually I doubt anyone really is that dumb, as I’ve been saying; I continue to believe that of Ms. Berg as well), whether something is “NATIONAL” or local is inherently neither here nor there with respect to libertarianism. A provision banning government from interfering in people’s private rights is always libertarian. Calling it a “national labelling law,” when it is actually an anti-labelling law, is Orwellian.

          The next paragraph, of course, reveals that Ms. Berg is not remotely a libertarian at all, but merely some sort of “guest” to our discussion. She is welcome, but know that she is obviously some sort of anti-GMO activist trying, not very skillfully, to put a libertarian spin on her silly argument. She undoubtedly is off now to the comment sections of the Daily Worker, National Review, DailyKos, and Stormfront to convince them all how the Vermont labelling law is the perfect expression of their philosophies.

        2. Kriss, show us your tits. It would be the libertarian thing to do.

          1. Also, readers new to this site, do not take the above “kriss, show us” comment as in any way representative of our commentariat. This was posted by an agent provocateur with a long history of trying to make trouble for this site.

            1. Yes, our shenanigans are cheeky and fun, and his shenanigans are cruel and tragic.

              1. Give me the god damn soap!!

        3. You’re not a libertarian, Kirss. You’re a fkn tool.

    3. Mandatory labeling is wholly unlibertarian.

    4. “First off I thought reason was in favor of a state’s right to make its own laws?”

      They favor state “rights” (government powers) in as far as they don’t infringe upon the rights of the individual and it doesn’t interfere with the individual’s ability to participate in voluntary economic exchanges. A law that increases the cost of goods on both businesses (large and small) and the consumers with little benefit, while encouraging businesses to leave that market and go to more affordable markets with less mandates (NH, The South, etc.), is something they’d definitely oppose. Particularly if more states start to replicate Vermont’s law. Liberty is the highest value here (whether economic, civil, or personal) not the powers of government.

      “I thought Reason was in favor of a well informed populace?”

      Which could be done with less costly or coercive means. Instead of these activists spending dollars to lobby the state to pass mandates they could rather easily run an “education” campaign to inform the population of the “benefits” and so-called “superiority” of non-GMO food. The market would then respond naturally, much in the same way that businesses now offer gluten free food because their is a market for it.

    5. If there is a presumption of power distribution in libertarianism, it is merely in favor of keeping the power closer to the individual, not specifically at the state level. See Reason’s position on state power, which briefly is that no level of government should be presumed to always act in your best interest.

      This is compelling action where there seems to be an easy alternative. The alternative is those who go to the trouble to use non GMOs currently can display all they want this fact.

      As far as harm, if you can show that the pesticides and herbicides are harmful to human health, then that is far more compelling than forcing companies to make claims where they have no interest. You are free to discriminate against those companies who don’t find the matter worth pursuing.

      A free market solution is the producers choose whether or not to make a claim, and you are free to make a decision based on that information or lack of information.

    6. No. this is not the free market solution.

      The free market solution is for any supplier who thinks it makes a difference to label their food as ‘GMO Free’ WITHOUT the force of the state being used as a weapon against those who don’t think it’s important.

      That’s freedom.

    7. Kriss, a luddite and idiot rolled up in one post…impressive.

    8. “there’s very little evidence that GMOs produce more food per acre. Isn’t that supposed to be big promise of genetic engineering? What they do more than anything else is consume more pesticide and herbicide.”

      IF that is true, here’s what will happen: companies will abandon GMO farming because they get no increase in yields but have to buy more herbicide and pesticide than they would with ordinary crops.

      Are you one of those people who thinks that the decision makers in big corporations are just purely evil individuals who will do malicious things even if it hurts their profits?

    9. Actually, there are precisely NO studies showing GMO’s are unsafe. Additionally, the evidence regarding food production per acre is overwhelming.

    10. “there are plenty of studies that dispute the ones you cite above.”

      No there aren’t. At least none that hold up to scrutiny in the long run. The thing about “studies” is that I can design a study to say whatever I want, which is why peer review exists. These “studies” you speak of are never submitted to review unless the person pushing it already knows what the conclusion of the review will be.

  8. There isn’t anything in this article that is correct.

    In the first place, no one is forced to do anything. If food companies don’t like what Vermont is doing, don’t do business there. I thought you like the marketplace, and that is the Vermont marketplace.

    Secondly, by far most Americans all over this country want GMO food to be labeled, in some polls to the tune of nearly 90%. Not just Vermont.

    http://thehill.com/regulation/…..o-labeling

    And thirdly, whatever happened to states rights? Now you like an activist judiciary?

    Selectivity, thy name is libertarianism.

    1. See, when someone says “forced”, it can only be taken literally. “Forced” to open a safe? Yes, the robber held the guy’s arms and hands and fingers are literally forced them to move in the manner described. Statists make words mean anything they want except the standard meanings.

      As for polls, only someone who thinks his audience is gullible and naive professes to believe that polls like that mean anything other than misleading questions. Of course, describes Statists perfectly; it’s why they became Statists in the first place, because people are too stupid, naive, ignorant, and gullible to think for themselves.

      Lastly, only a jack knape fool selectvely enforces fundamental human rights and proclaims himself to be ethical. Just like Statists everywhere.

      Selective Statism, thy handle is Jackand Ace.

      1. No, it’s a perfectly understandable poll result regardless of phrasing. Ask people whether it should be mandatory to have the products they buy labeled as to any particular detail, they’ll of course say “yes” unless:

        (1) they understand the marginal costs involved, and/or
        (2) they’re radical libertarians.

        People like mandatory free shit for them if they think it doesn’t cost anybody anything. Labeling? There’s a label on it anyway, right? So what’s the difference if it’s mandatory that something even a tiny minority of buyers want to know be part of that label?

    2. Jesus Christ, are you really this dumb Joe?

      “No one is being forced to do anything?”

      Really? It seems like businesses in Vermont are being forced to label their products. Just because someone could conceivably leave a place altogether doesn’t mean that the laws in that place aren’t forcing them to anything. If I was in charge of some state and passed a law requiring everyone recognize me as God-Emperor and pay tribute to me, would that fall under the category of “not forcing anyone to do anything” because they could just move?.

      Second, the fact that polls show that people favor labeling is irrelevant to anyone who isn’t a statist shit head. Just because compelling people to speak is popular, doesn’t mean it is justified. Furthermore, if people genuinely believe that GMOs are that bad, then you just discovered a moneymaking oppurtunity by selling GMO free food and advertising it as such and the problem would solve itself, if this isn’t actually something people would be willing to pay for, then what you have is a case of revealed preferences being different from stated preferences.

      Lastly, even the most hardcore federalist (which isn’t something that would describe most libertarians, let alone all of us) support enforcing the commerce clause as one of few legitimate functions of the federal government, which means preventing individual states from greatly distorting the market for all.

      1. I would say that a libertarian should have a merely instrumentalist attitude toward federalism–just as we have toward democracy. You cannot serve two masters–at least not in this particular case. On the other hand, I am not sure that it’s so hard to imagine a hardcore federalist taking the side of Vermont.

        Do you know Joe from other postings on Reason? Or some of the other anti-GMO folks who appear to be swarming this article? If not, I am not so sure that they are dumb enough to genuinely believe that their position is defensible from a libertarian perspective. Instead, I think they are coming from a very different one…

        On the other hand, Joseph Mercola and the Whole Foods founder fancy themselves to be “libertarians,” so you never know…

        1. Joe’s a semi-regular, but yeah, I doubt he actually claims to be a libertarian and he hasn’t shown any evidence of being all that smart either

          1. joes defense of Chavez is legendary.

            He also created joes law, which is the only good thing he has done around here. And that was a decade ago.

        2. They may be libertarians, but they aren’t rational. You see it all the time, I believe X, Y, and Z except in this one case that I’m close to. I have a very Libertarian friend who believe that the state should get out of everyones lives…. EXCEPT when it comes to the state giving them money to pay to take care of their mentally handicapped son in which case damnit you can’t take away my son’s right to be taken care of you monster.

          Only a brave few regularly take a step back and assess their views for consistency… and few of those can openly face the conclusion when that conclusion is inconvenient for them.

          1. You’re insightful posts are missed at MOther Jones, Krendalla. You should go back there.

            1. I’d point out how you completely misread what I posted but seeing how your post presents no actual argument against the thing you think I said but instead was little more than “You don’t agree with me so go away”, I see no point.

      2. the fact that polls show that people favor labeling is irrelevant to anyone who isn’t a statist shit head.

        No, it’s relevant to anyone who isn’t a radical libertarian. Is everyone who isn’t a radical libertarian a statist shit head? We are the outliers. We hold some very unpopular opinions. Calling the vast majority statist shit heads makes “shit head” a meaningless description.

    3. In the first place, no one is forced to do anything.

      So, if Oklahoma passed a law saying that if you want to sell any kind of food in the state, you would have to put “Vote for Donald Trump” on the label, you would be cool with that, because if you objected to that compelled speech, you could just quit selling food in Oklahoma?

      If you want to buy food labeled GMO free, plenty of people willing to meet that desire of yours. No need to compel dissenters to satisfy your desire at the point of a gun.

    4. Jackland, thy name it Trollololo

  9. I’m a little surprised the producers don’t just slap the label on everything, including individual apples and bananas. I know part of their localized fear is a drop in sales, but why not sic the VT government on the non-compliers, since practically everything we eat has been bred for better characteristics?

    Doesn’t do anything for multiple states with different labels. But what the heck, slap every state label on every product.

    Make a mocker of the anti-GMO idiots, just like the prop 65 idiots in California made a mockery of themselves. No one pays attention to those signs except to laugh.

    1. I’ve yet to meet an anti-GMO person who has displayed a solid understanding of science. It all ends up down the wiry road of quackery and derp.

      1. “Chemicals!! OMG the chemicals are EVERYWHERE!!!”

        /Greenprog derp

    2. …slap the label on everything…

      Or just have one large sign stating – “Feel free to assume that everything not labeled Non-GMO has GMO content”

      1. I do something like this with my students. I declare on the first day that every class session is under a blanket warning for containing every conceivable type of trigger. If it results in far fewer students wanting to take my class, well, two birds with one stone.

        1. The blanket statement could apply to virtually all business classes.

        2. “ladies and gentlemen
          welcome to the disclaimer
          that’s right the disclaimer

          this american apple pie institution
          known as parental discretion
          will cleanse any sense of innuendo or sarcasm
          from the lyrics that might actually make you think
          and will also insult your intelligence at the same time

          so protect your family
          this album contains explicit depictions
          of things which are real
          these real things are commonly known as life
          so if it sounds sarcastic don’t take it seriously
          if it sounds dangerous
          do not try this at home or at all
          and if it offends you just don’t listen to it”

    3. “Contents may have been produced by undirected random or radiologically-induced genetic mutation.”

      Has the benefit of being 100% true.

  10. This is awesome !!!!
    Let’s make it more expensive for poor people to eat. They need to be punished with labeling laws for choosing to eat stuff that we don’t like ust so we can feel good about ourselves.
    /prog

  11. Is there any penalty for the reverse inaccuracy, i.e. labeling foods as genetically modified if they turn out not to be? Or saying, “may contain” genetically modified ingredients? If not, no big problem, just label everything ya got that way.

    1. I’d do it! Hopefully, if we can’t have a government sensitive to either liberty or science, everyone can come together and make this nonsense even more meaningless than it is.

      I think something like this happened in California, if I’m not mistaken. Chemical paranoiacs got a law passed 30 years ago mandating that businesses put up warning signs for using any amount of “toxic” chemical on the premises. But they fucked up and overshot themselves; it was so comically onerous that every business just put up a blanket warning sign.

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  13. I don’t get it. I’ve been under the impression that the socialist left knows best because they rely on science. Surely they wouldn’t smugly refer to the scientific consensus to support their statist ideas and then smugly defy the scientific consensus to do the same, right?

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  15. Better idea: Stop shipping food to Vermont.
    Fuck ’em. Let ’em starve.

  16. A simple solution would be for food suppliers to stop shipping to Vermont. When the idiot legislators get hungry enough and are tired of ducking angry mobs they’ll quickly repeal their idiotic law.

  17. I hope half the food comes off the shelves.

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  19. I think the underlying assumption is that people (in Vermont) would be more enthusiastic about buying the stuff labeled NO GMO if they knew that everything else is genetically engineered.

    From a labeling perspective, I don’t think it matters that a company might be stuck with competing state laws. The remedy is to ask the Feds to standardize the labeling or provide a safe harbor statement.

    The fun part is when companies start suing each other over the classification of the crops descended from the accelerated mutation programs, etc.

    But I think the prop 65 is a good example. Every time you board a plane, you see that warning on the jet bridge. Has anyone ever declined to board as a result of that sign? Would I be entitled to a refund as a result?

  20. Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law Will Wreak Havoc on the Nation’s Food Supply Next Week

    I’m not sure *why*.

    I mean, sure – it will wreak havoc with *Vermont’s* food supply – but sellers do not have to be in compliance with Vermont law to sell in other states. Simply stop shipping to Vermont or charge extra for Vermont specific shipments rather than rush around changing labels for everything.

    1. They need a factual basis to assert the theory of the Dormant Commerce Clause; i.e., if Congress hasn’t spoken on the issue, should the state legislation nevertheless be overturned because of its negative effects on interstate commerce?

      It’s a shitty route to go (SCOTUS has fucked up the CC to the point that the CC is practically a grant of the police power to Congress). Blame the courts for applying only the rational basis standard of review to economic legislation and their refusal to call economic liberty a fundamental right.

  21. I’m sensing a Dormant Commerce Clause line of attack against the GMO law.

  22. If I were a food company I would stop selling to Vermont. The people of the state will force the legislature to come to their senses when they are starving.

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  25. “Don’t be so curious, serf, what is in your food. Those smarter than you told you it is safe and nutritious, so shut up and eat it.”

    For the record: I have no problem with GMO food. But my libertarian creed requires freedom of choice, and one of the pre-requisites for such freedom is access to information. I support Vermont on this one, and I am wondering what has happened to Reason – a big handout from food companies, or a drift toward progressive authoritarianism?

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  28. Change and adjusting with new scientific information is always burdensome for some industry or another.

    The VT labeling law is not the most perfect response to an unregulated use of biotechnology, but it is something that actually happened. States and cities often enact controversial laws and policies in the face of the slow-to-action national government. The VT labeling requirements force companies to identify GMO components of their food. Are you saying that they shouldn’t be made to do this? National, consistent policy would be great- but when will that happen? Like so many things ONCE regarded as safe for consumption, GMOs are currently thought to be safe, but the possibilities for their use is endless, and the testing currently conducted does not cover the possibilities for the future. Without any regulation or transparency, the American public opens themselves up to unknown genetic manipulation in the foods that they eat.

    As far as I can tell, farmers are the ones that generally suffer, not food manufacturers. Additionally, the American public needs to get used the fact that they are going to have to start paying for their principles when it comes to food. Is it really a bad thing if coca cola increases in price? Maybe we can shift policies as a country in order to support the farmers of healthy foods, rather than worrying about food manufacturers using corn soybean, and sugar beets.

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