Monsanto Threatens Lawsuit Against Vermont
The Vermont legislature is considering a law requiring all genetically modified food to be clearly labeled so consumers will know what they’re buying. The bill, H. 722, is called the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
Monsanto is threatening to sue the state of Vermont if this law gets passed.
As far fetched as this sounds, Monsanto filed a similar lawsuit against Vermont in the 1990s — and won. Vermont had passed a law requiring milk producers to label their products which contain bovine growth hormones. After Monsanto successfully sued the state, Vermont had to modify the law to make it strictly voluntary.
Monsanto even tried to crack down on Ben and Jerry’s, because it said on the label that their ice cream was free of hormones. Monsanto thought Ben and Jerry’s was implying that there might be something hazardous in consuming recombinant bovine growth hormone. Preposterous!
Monsanto tried — unsuccessfully — to persuade several states to prevent Ben and Jerry’s from using these “hormone-free” labels.
California has a state initiative on the ballot that’s similar to Vermont’s proposed law. If this initiative passes, will Monsanto sue California too? Since California is the world’s eighth largest economy, they’d be a much tougher opponent than Vermont.
And if this initiative passes in California, other states might start passing similar laws. We can hope.