CFS Sues Trump Administration Over GMO Labeling Delay
Washington, D.C. â€“ Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration for failing to abide by the mandatory deadlines Congress set in the 2016 genetically engineered (GE) food disclosure law. That law required that its regulations be finished by two years after its enactment, or July 29, 2018. Earlier this week Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is assigned to draft and issue the new labeling rules, missed the final rules deadline. So today CFS went to Court, in order to get a mandated schedule for completion and judicial oversight of USDA, to ensure timely completion of the rules.
"Americans have waited for decades for GE foods to be labeled, which Congress knew when it ordered USDA to get this done in a reasonable timeframe," said George Kimbrell, CFS Legal Director. "Trump, Perdue, and their corporate lobbyists may want indefinite delay and keeping Americans in the dark, but the law doesn't permit it."
The comment period on the USDA proposal ended July 3. CFS recently filed a separate lawsuit over USDA's unlawful withholding of internal agency documents related to the GE disclosure rulemaking. Last year, CFS won a lawsuit over USDA's failure to publicly release a critical study related to the use of electronic or digital disclosures for GE foods. The USDA study showed that major segments of Americans, including disproportionately rural, minority, elderly, and poor Americans, would not have sufficient access to this form of disclosure.
CFS has been fighting for mandatory GE food labeling for over two decades at the federal and state levels, work that helped lead to the passage of the 2016 federal law. After CFS executive director Andrew Kimbrell wrote the award-winning book, Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food, CFS assisted in drafting and passing the first-ever law to require labeling of GE fish and fish products in Alaska. In addition to writing model legislation used to create GE labeling rule on a federal level, CFS also wrote model legislation that has been used in dozens of state legislation efforts, including California, Washington, Connecticut, and Maine. CFS filed a legal petition with FDA that garnered more than 1.2 million comments in support of mandatory GE food labeling nationwide. 64 countries, including member nations of the European Union, Russia, China, Brazil, Australia, Turkey, and South Africa require standards of mandatory GE food labeling.
View the complaint here.