A Supreme Court decision in Reed v. the Town of Gilbert (which concerned the constitutionality of certain standards for or restrictions on signage in a town in Arizona) may mean that process-specific food-labeling initiatives are likely to be deemed unconstitutional by federal courts.

Information required on labels is considered to be “compelled commercial speech” and must follow the speech requirements of the First Amendment. First Amendment expert Floyd Abrams said, “When a court applies strict scrutiny in determining whether a law is consistent with the First Amendment, only the rarest statute survives the examination.” Thus, a law that compels a product label to contain specific information about the use of a safe and proven manufacturing process that is unrelated to a health or safety outcome would be extremely unlikely to survive strict scrutiny.

On July 23, 2015, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599 .

Congress should rethink H.R. 1599, which gives FDA exclusive labeling authority for genetically engineered foods (except beef and poultry, which are regulated by USDA) and statutorily preempts any state or local requirement for such labeling to label genetically engineered food, because the Supreme Court decision makes H.R. 1599′s preemption provision unnecessary.

Supreme Court Free-Speech Decision Clobbers GMO Food-Labeling Activists