Vermont consumers who support the state's required labeling of genetically engineered foods can thank a Vermont Law School graduate for her work that indirectly played a role in the law.
As a senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety's San Francisco office, Paige Tomaselli JD'04 co-drafted model state legislation for labeling genetically engineered foods, which Vermont used as a basis for its labeling law.
Her work managing cases that involve animal welfare, food safety, water pollution and pesticides has had other far-reaching impacts.
In one of her major accomplishments, a petition she drafted and filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009 called for a ban on all arsenic-based feed additives for food animals. The petition influenced the agency's ban on all but three such additives.
"The FDA has also promised that this year they will ban the remaining three arsenic-based feed additives, thus eliminating all arsenic from our meat supply," Tomaselli says.
In her position, she files lawsuits against government agencies for statutory and regulatory violations, helps develop and execute the center's policy initiatives, and is involved with outreach campaigns. She also coordinates a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation legal working group, a forum for litigators around the country to strategize about animal agriculture.
Tomaselli, who has worked at the center since 2008, speaks regularly at high-profile sustainable agriculture and animal law conferences in the United States.
"I have had exceptional opportunities to represent the Center for Food Safety before national and international governmental bodies and scientific panels," she says.
They include the FDA, the National Organic Standards Board, the Japanese Parliament and ministers of environment and agriculture, and the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations in India.
At VLS, Tomaselli was involved with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC), which helped her build practical litigator skills. She also published an international comparative animal welfare article through the Animal Legal & Historical Center, based at Michigan State University.
"Vermont Law School's variety of environmental law classes, mixed with the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities such as organizing the Solutions Conference, has played a role in my career success," she says.