Mandatory GMO Labeling Laws:

Overview and Status of Current Legal Issues


Sponsored by the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium




Within the past decade, ballot initiatives and legislative proposals addressing the labeling of “Genetically Modified Organisms,” commonly known as “GMOs,” have been proposed in several states across the country, as well as on the federal level.  Primarily, the issue addressed is whether or not food products made with GMOs should be labeled as such.

The program will provide background to help the listener frame the discussion as well as an update of the current status of those proposals.  In addition, the program will address:

  • The historical development of GMO labeling debate;
  • A review the states’ laws that have been enacted;
  • The status of litigation involving the Vermont GMO labeling law;
  • Applicable November 2014 ballot measures voters considered on election day; and
  • Federal legislation


Time and Date:


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2:30-3:30 (EST)



Click here to Watch the Recorded Webinar





Harrison Pittman B.S., J.D., LL.M.                

Director, National Agricultural Law Center

Harrison received his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, after attending Mississippi State University and graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He then earned an LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Graduate Program in Agricultural Law. Harrison has worked at the Center since 2001.  During that time, his title and job duties have spanned the range of graduate assistant, staff attorney, co-director, interim director and currently, director; in which capacity he has served since 2007.

He has taught at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law as part of the Ben J. Altheimer Distinguished Professorship for Agricultural Law, and has also served as a visiting professor at the Drake University Law School.  In addition, he has taught Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Introduction to Agricultural Law in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.  In that role, he was awarded the2011-2012 Agricultural Business Club Teaching Award.

He is an active member of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA), the nation’s only professional organization focused on the legal needs of the agricultural community, and was the first recipient of the AALA’s Excellence in Agricultural Law award in 2010.  Additionally, he is an active member of the Arkansas Bar Association, where he helped found the Agricultural Law Section, later served as interim chair and chair, and currently serves as vice-chair.  He is a frequent presenter on a range of topics and issues, including the farm bill, water law, and environmental law. He has authored articles on numerous subjects, including the National Organic Program, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the constitutionality of corporate farming laws, pesticide regulation and litigation, agritourism, states’ recreational use statutes, the Packers and Stockyards Act, agricultural bankruptcy issues, and environmental laws impacting agriculture.


Ross Pifer J.D., LL.M. 

Director, Agricultural Law Resource Reference Center at Penn State Law

Ross Pifer is a Clinical Law Professor at Penn State Law where he teaches agricultural law and serves as Director of the Agricultural Law Resource Reference Center.  Ross has presented widely throughout Pennsylvania, as well as nationally and internationally, on shale gas and agricultural law topics to audiences comprised of judges, attorneys, legislators, government officials, landowners, and the general public. His research interests are shale gas development and the interface between agricultural and residential development as well as GMO labeling laws. He served as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of General Counsel, and has advised military personnel and commands in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, and Germany while on active duty with the U.S. Army JAG Corps at the Netherlands Law Center.   Among other publications, Ross has written an article on GMO labeling to be published in the Penn State Law Review.   Ross earned an LL.M. from the University of Arkansas School of Law Agricultural & Food Law Program, and is an active member of the American Agricultural Law Association.


Agricultural & Food Law Consortium


The Agricultural & Food Law Consortium is a first-of-its-kind multi-institutional collaboration designed to enhance and expand the development and delivery of authoritative, timely, and objective agricultural and food law research and information.  The Consortium defines the agricultural law and food law includes law related to land-based food, fiber, and energy production systems, as well as seafood and marine-based aquaculture.

Led by the National Agricultural Law Center, other members of the Consortium include the National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law, the Agricultural Law Resource Reference Center at Penn State Law, and the Agricultural and Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University.  To learn more about the Consortium, please click here.

The Consortium is currently conducting a short, anonymous survey to help define future agricultural and food law research and information activities.  To take the survey click here.  Please feel free to share the survey link ( with others throughout the nation’s agricultural community.

The work of the Consortium is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project number 1005058, and is a formal partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library.  For inquiries about the Consortium, please contact Center Director Harrison Pittman at


Research & Materials

Powerpoint Presentation

Ballot Proposals

Oregon Ballot Language (2014)

Washington Ballot Language (Failed, 2013)

Colorado Ballot Language (Failed, 2014)

California Ballot Language (Failed, 2012)

Oregon Ballot Language (Failed, 2002)

State Legislatures

Vermont GMO Labeling Statute (Passed 2014)

Maine GMO Labeling Statute (Passed 2014)

Connecticut GMO Labeling Statute (Passed 2013)