Rocker Neil Young backs GMO food labelling law

Donates $100,000 to a fund devoted to defending Vermont's GMO labelling law from legal changes

Rocker Neil Young is lending his support to the state's efforts to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

Young, who performed in concert Sunday at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Vermont, appeared earlier with Gov. Peter Shumlin and donated $100,000 to a fund devoted to defending Vermont's genetically modified organism, or GMO, labeling law from legal challenges.

"It's a huge gift, and we need more like them,'' Shumlin said Monday. The money will be used to help defray the costs of a legal battle that Attorney General Bill Sorrell has estimated could cost the state as much as $8 million.

Vermont last year passed a law under which it's scheduled to become the first U.S. state to require foods with altered DNA to be labeled as such.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America and other industry groups are suing to block the law before its scheduled implementation date, July 1, 2016.

Young has been touring to promote a new album, ``The Monsanto Years,'' which is sharply critical of the Monsanto Co.'s role in agriculture. This couplet provides an example:

"The farmer knows he's got to grow what he can sell, Monsanto, Monsanto

"So he signs a deal for GMOs that makes life hell with Monsanto, Monsanto.''

Monsanto, a sustainable-agriculture company that says it delivers agricultural products that support farmers worldwide, has responded by saying many of its workers are fans of Young. But it chides Young for being wrapped up in "myths'' surrounding it and its marketing of genetically modified seeds.

"We recognize there is a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do _ and unfortunately several of those myths are captured in his lyrics,'' company spokeswoman Kelly Clauss wrote in an email Monday.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds