Food & Alcohol

Published on June 7th, 2013


GMO Labeling Law Approved in Connecticut

This week Connecticut became the first state in the U.S. to require food manufacturers to label products made with genetically modified ingredients — well, sort of. The passage of the bill signals just how difficult such legislation is to enact.

Connecticut’s legislation, a compromise between the state Senate and state House, will not take effect unless four other states in the region with a total population of 20 million pass similar requirements. One of the states has to share a border with Connecticut. New York lawmakers just defeated a GMO labeling bill, so that state is out. California voters defeated a GMO labeling measure last November. About 26 other states are reviewing labeling bills.  (Alaska has a law requiring labels for genetically engineered fish and shellfish, but not any other food items.)

Proponents of GMO labeling heralded the passage of the bill as a good first step, but some consumer advocates were disappointed. Rebecca Spector, the West Coast director for the Center for Food Safety said,

…the Connecticut bill does, however, include some disappointing language. In particular, the late addition of a “trigger clause” stating the law will only go into effect when four additional states in the Northeast with an aggregate population of 20 million enact mandatory labeling laws for genetically-engineered foods, potentially denies or delays Connecticut consumers with the information they have a right to have now.

In April, California Senator Barbara Boxer and Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced federal GMO labeling legislation.

To read more about GMOs, click here.

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