Moving Forward on GMO Labeling Legislation

5 June 2013

blog

Senator Cathy Osten addresses a rally of consumer advocates at the State Capitol

Senator Cathy Osten (CT) addresses a rally of consumer advocates at the State Capitol.

By Cassidy Bennett, Website and Communications Intern

As the Farm Bill painfully moves through the Senate and the House, hopefully to be passed before the recess in July, progress is being made across the nation for food justice. On Monday, June 3, Connecticut state legislature passed a law (134 yes to 3 no) to require labeling of all food products containing genetically modified ingredients[i]. Governor Dannel P. Malloy supports the bill and agreed to sign it into law, provided that four other Northeastern states, at least one of which borders Connecticut, pass similar laws for GMO labeling.

Also on June 3, the labeling bill in New York that was presumed to have had enough votes failed to pass. The Council for Biotechnology Information, a representative of many of the top GMO producers, was able to lobby key members of the legislature before the vote was held[ii]. Optimistically, New York will continue to work on passing this law so that only two more states will be needed to put the law in effect in Connecticut[iii].  Although California was not able to pass a similar law last November due to heavy lobbying from the big companies, this could be a spark for more states along the east coast and throughout the United States to pass these laws so at least some of our states can join the 64 countries that have GMO labeling laws[iv].

On May 25, over 2 million people around the world participated in the “March Against Monsanto[v].” This was a demonstration proving that many people want more than labeling of GMOs, they want Monsanto and other companies held accountable. Many Americans do not want the market to be monopolized by just these few big seed companies, corporations, and huge scale farmers.

In a poll ABC did last year, 93% of people believed the federal government should require labeling of GMOs[vi]. On April 24, 2013, Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would require the FDA to label all foods contain GMOs[vii]. This bipartisan legislation would allow consumers to make informed decisions about their food to the national level. These ideas should appear more in our government – as in the Farm Bill and in more GMO labeling laws – but often the biotech lobbyists and money are too powerful. The voices of the affected communities and people need to be heard.

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[i]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/business/connecticut-approves-qualified-genetic-labeling.html?ref=science&_r=3&

[ii] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/business/connecticut-approves-qualified-genetic-labeling.html?ref=science&_r=3&

[iii] http://grist.org/news/connecticut-will-label-gmos-if-you-do-too/

[iv] http://grist.org/news/connecticut-senate-passes-gmo-labeling-bill/

[v] http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/2013/06/this-is-only-beginning.html

[vi] http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97567&page=1#.Ua-K9GTwJZ1

[vii] http://www.boxer.senate.gov/en/press/releases/042413.cfm

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