The ink was barely dry on Vermont's first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law when a national industry trade group declared it would seek to overturn it.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents cereal-maker General Mills, among others, said Friday it intends to sue the state to reverse the law.
"We're expecting to be sued and we'll put the A-team on the case if and when we are sued," Attorney General Bill Sorrell said Monday.
Vermont's law requires manufacturers to put a one-line label on products containing genetically modified ingredients starting in 2016. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill Thursday.
"The government therefore has no compelling interest in warning consumers about foods containing GM ingredients," the Grocery Manufacturers Association said in a statement late last week. "In the coming weeks GMA will file suit in federal court against the state of Vermont to overturn the law."
Sorrell estimates defending the law could cost $1 million to win and $5 million or more to lose. The state is stockpiling $1.5 million through state appropriations and settlement surpluses to defend the law. The state also announced last week at a bill signing that it is taking private donations through a newly created defense-fund website, Foodfightfundvt.org.
Sorrell said the Attorney General's Office will have regulatory rules on the labeling law drafted as soon as late summer. This will include how the label will appear on the food packages. There will be a chance for the public to comment on the regulations, he said.