Connecticut GMO Bill Needs Northeast Cooperation

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

June 5, 2013

2 Min Read
Connecticut GMO Bill Needs Northeast Cooperation

HARTFORD, Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to sign legislation that would require the labeling of genetically-engineered food sold in Connecticut.

However, proponents of GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling should wait to throw a party. There are major caveats to the legislation before the labeling requirements take effect.

Not only must four states including one that borders Connecticut pass similar bills, House Bill 6519 includes an additional requirement. The GMO bills must be passed by any combination of Northeastern states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont) representing at least 20 million people.

The provisions are intended "to keep from putting retailers and farmers at a competitive disadvantage," Peter Yazbak, press officer for Gov. Malloy, said in a brief phone interview Wednesday.

The governor is awaiting the final bill after the state Senate passed it on Saturday and the House gave the legislation its final approval on Monday.

"Connecticut is the first state to pass a GMO labeling bill, and has the opportunity to serve as a leader on this issue as proposals move through state legislatures and are being considered across the country," Yazbak wrote in an emailed statement to Food Product Design.

Maine and Vermont are among more than 20 states considering similar legislation, according to Just Label It, an organization that supports GMO labeling. Representatives for Just Label It and the Center for Food Safety, which are both tracking the status of the state bills, were not available Wednesday to comment.

Connecticuts victory marks an important step in the national movement for GE labeling, and signifies growing support for the consumer right-to-know," said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It, in a statement Tuesday.

National support for GMO labeling has been growing in spite of a vote last November by California voters to reject Proposition 37.

In April, lawmakers on Capitol HillSen. Barbara Boxer of California and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregonintroduced bipartisan legislation that would require labels for genetically-engineered whole and processed foods. If the legislation was passed by Congress, America would join 64 other countries that require the labeling of genetically-modified foods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded GMO food is safe to eat. Even so, most Americans are in favor of GMO labeling, according to Just Label It and others.

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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