Thoughts from a broken mind
By Stephen C. Webster
If lawmakers in Vermont decide to require all genetically modified food be labeled as such, they could be facing a major lawsuit from one of the most hated companies in the world.
A representative of Missouri-based food giant Monsanto, which has in its history filed hundreds of lawsuits over use of its seed gene patents, threatened lawmakers with civil litigation if they pass the bill, according to a report this week from Alternet.
The bill, H.722, otherwise known as the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, was introduced to the Vermont House in February, but lawmakers have hesitated to cast their ballots ahead of a public hearing on April 12.
It wouldn’t be the first time Monsanto has sued Vermont, either: the company took the state to court in the ninties over a law requiring milk producers to label products containing bovine growth hormones. Not only did they sue, they won, rendering Vermont’s labeling law purely voluntary.
What’s more, Monsanto years later got into a legal fight with Vermont ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. over their practice of labeling ice cream free of hormones and forcing suppliers to promise they’re not using them. Monsanto was able to convince lawmakers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana to consider bills that would have made the ice cream maker’s practices illegal, arguing the labels implied some inherent harm to consuming recombinant bovine growth hormone. Only Pennsylvania passed the law, but it was later recalled.
A ballot initiative in California that is similar to Vermont’s is currently in the signature-gathering stage. Activists hope to push their initiative onto the statewide ballot this year. If it passes, it could have the effect of using California’s massive economic influence — it’s the eighth largest marketplace in the world — to force numerous other companies to label their genetically modified products in other states as well.
The video below is from The GMO Film Project, a documentary highlighting how one man learned about genetically modified plants and their growing reach around the world.
Inforwars take on this.
Even though the state of Vermont is trying desperately to pass a bill which would require GMO foods to be labeled, the state’s efforts are being threatened by biotech giant Monsanto. In retaliation of the GMO labeling bill, Monsanto has threatened to sueVermont if any such bill is passed. Sadly, Vermont elected public officials may surrender to the threats and intimidation brought about by the GMO creator.
Monsanto Threatens Lawsuit Against Vermont for GMO Labeling Bill
The bill, known as the ‘VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act’, or H-722, was introduced to the Vermont House of Representatives by Representative Kate Webb of Shelburne on February 1st, 2012. The bill would require the labeling of not only products filled entirely with GMOs, but also for those partially created using GM ingredients. What’s more, GMO food manufacturers using promotional labels such as “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” and other similar statements, would be prohibited.
Despite a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members supporting passage of the bill, and thousands of people voicing their support for the bill, legislators of Vermont are putting the labeling bill on hold and refusing to take a vote. Legislators are calling for more public hearings on April 12, while only four weeks remain until legislature is postponed.
Of course Monsanto’s tactics are far less than surprising. The GMO giant has been using lawsuits and threats of lawsuits for over 20 years in order to force their unlabeled genetically modified creations on the population. In 1994, Vermont became the first state to require milk and dairy products derived from cows injected with the controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone to be labeled. In response to such an action, Monsanto sued in Federal Court. The corporation won on the note that dairy corporations have the first amendment “right” to hide rBGH injection even though the synthetic hormone, now banned in 27 countries, has been shown to increase risks for both breast and gastrointestinal cancer in peer-reviewed research (while also causing severe health damage in cows).
Monsanto has also been using their scare tactics — intimidation and tactical lawsuits on small farmers — in order to force their genetically modified seeds and growth hormones onto these individuals. In fact, between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto actually filed 144 lawsuits against American family farmers. In addition, another 700 were settled out of court for unknown amounts. Monsanto wants more than anything to take out American family farms and dominate the agricultural industry with their own mutant seeds. This is the same kind of practice that Monsanto operates outside of the United States as well, driving thousands of poor farmers to suicide by ruining their family farming practices. Monsanto’s actions have even helped to lead to a farmer suicide occurring every 30 minutes.
So will Monsanto’s bullying actions put a stop to Vermont’s Right to Know Bill? Tens of thousands of people want nothing more than for the bill to pass, but time will tell.