Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The GMO Labeling Movement Continues across the Country

Connecticut has new proposed GMO labeling legislation for this legislative session.  The GMO labeling bill was introduced by Diana Urban and Phil Miller.  The 2012 Connecticut labeling bill was dropped because of concerns that biotech companies could sue the state government, but the language of the bill is being altered this year to sidestep this obstacle.  The bill has ten co-sponsors in the Connecticut House of Representatives.  You can see the co-sponsors and the text of the bill at the state government's page for HB 6519.

There is a public hearing this Friday March 15th at 10:30 am at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford in front of the Public Health Committee.  GMO Free CT is asking supporters of the bill to come, even if only for a short period of time (they have buttons for you to wear!)  According to GMO Free CT: "Please come whenever you can, even if it is only during your lunch break. We will have Right To Know GMO pins for everyone to wear. We need your support. Our Legislators must see that their constituents want the right to know what is in our food."  You can testify in person or send a written testimony to PHC.Testimony@cga.ct.gov.  GMO Free CT can also give you the handouts you need if you want to set up a meeting with your legislator to talk about your support for the bill.  You can also write your legislator to let them know your about your support - GMO Free CT has a step by step how-to for you to find your legislator and write them.

In Vermont the  House Agriculture Committee approved a GMO labeling bill on March 1. The bill calls for foods made with GE or containing genetically engineered ingredients to bear special labels. A bill was approved by the committee last year, but too late in the legislative session for it to be voted on. 

All this comes in the midst of an exciting (though long awaited) announcement from Whole Foods that all products in its North American stores that contain genetically engineered ingredients will be labeled by 2018.  Whole Foods' decision is responding to a growing demand for products without GMOs.  According to this Connecticut Post article, Products that get a "Non-GMO" verification" label saw a sale spike between 15 and 30 percent.  Whole Food's labeling will be even more exhaustive than much of the proposed legislation because it will require labeling for meats and dairy products.

It's important to keep contacting our legislators and voicing this support.  You can also write a letter to the editor to your local newspaper - why not share with your community your support?

- Kristiane

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