6-26-14 – Don Keelan on GMOs

posted by John McClaughry

My friend Don Keelan is a CPA in Arlington and frequent contributor to the Bennington Banner. He recently cast a skeptical eye on the current symbolic battle over the Genetically Modified Organism labelling law, which requires food manufacturers to state that their products may contain GMOs.

Don points out that as much of $8 million in taxpayer dollars may be spent before this legal battle concludes. “I’m willing to speculate,” he says, “that the hundreds of thousands of Vermonters who only want to have food on their tables would not wish for the state to divert its scarce resources defending an unnecessary piece of legislation.”

Keelan points out that the $600 a hour legal bills the attorney general will have to pay defending the suit would buy 545 meals at the local “Meals on Wheels” program, or “food for hundreds of the state’s hungriest children who are living on the least expensive, poorest-quality food, and occasionally going without.”.

He concludes, “Frankly, I don’t care one way or the other about placing a GMO sticker on any food product I purchase. What I do care about is the recklessness of spending millions of dollars from the state’s treasury to feed litigation and not use our limited and precious financial resources to feed our fellow citizens.”

As I have said before, I view the GMO labelling bill as special interest foolishness, promoted by organic food producers competing with food manufacturers.

– John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

FreedomToThink July 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Well, isn’t this poorly crafted piece of propaganda right in keeping with your “free market solutions” banner… You can speculate all you want about what hundreds of thousands of Vermonters want, but it still doesn’t equal journalism or have even one hint of intelligence. You don’t like Vermont having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending legally passed laws against giant corporate special interests? Tell the Grocery Manufacturers Association to stop suing the State because it’s people want to know what they are feeding their children… What’s the big secret anyway, if there is nothing to hide?


Rob July 2, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Freedom To Think. Start exercising your freedom! People could know what’s in their food if the folks who make GMO free food label it as such. I don’t think they are prohibited from doing so no. We consumers can assume that if it’s not labeled “GMO free” or “Certified Organic” (which implies GMO free), it isn’t, and we can purchase accordingly. All this lawsuit is doing is confusing consumers and costing taxpayers a bundle of cash. It’s proponents don’t care about enlightening the consumer, all they care about is using the power of government to hamstring their competition.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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