- Vermont’s attorney general William Sorrell is requesting internal research on GMO crops from major seed and food companies, per recent motions filed in several U.S. district courts. These are part of the nearly two-year-old lawsuit filed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to overturn the state's mandatory GMO labeling law.
- Requested research includes those related to "potential health or environmental impacts" of GMO crops and the pesticides used on them (from Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta). It also includes "consumer survey research" from the past decade about GMO foods and the use of the term "natural" on their product labels (from ConAgra, Kellogg, and Frito-Lay North America).
- Monsanto "will oppose the motion as untimely and unwarranted" and reaffirmed that the safety of GMO crops is "well established," a spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. Other companies either had no comment or said they were reviewing the attorney general's requests.
Vermont's attorney general said that while the lawsuit was filed by the GMA, the organization itself doesn't have much of the GMO research that would be pertinent to the case. The state has had to approach the companies directly for internal research.
ConAgra and Kellogg, which have agreed voluntarily to label GMOs (preempting the Vermont law), are among the companies receiving document requests. Both companies assured in labeling announcements they believe GMOs are safe for consumers.
Because research exists supporting both sides of this intense debate, this request for research may not push the lawsuit forward in either direction. As the July 1 deadline for the GMO labeling law's enactment grows closer, any and all movements will be closely watched and scrutinized.