The European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China have created laws requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods, and over 90 percent of Americans want GMO foods labeled. (1)
Sixty to 70 percent of processed foods available in American grocery stores contain genetically modified ingredients;(2) a majority of non-organic meat has been raised on GMO corn and soybeans.
So what happened with the GMO-Labeling Bill?
Connecticut’s Genetically Engineered Foods bill was altered on May 4, 2012 to no longer require the labeling of GE foods.
Analiese Paik, editor of the Fairfield Green Food Guide (and co-founder of Right to Know Connecticut) interviewed Representative Roy about the changes to the bill. Rep. Roy said “The labeling provision was eliminated from the bill due to fears that it opened the state up to a lawsuit. The attorneys for the leadership and Governor’s office felt that the Constitutional Rights of Monsanto gave them the power to successfully sue the state. Their main duty was to protect the welfare of the state”.
Rep. Richard Roy of Milford, co-chair of the Environment Committee and the original sponsor of the bill, when reached for comment said “I feel very strongly that someone or some state has to challenge the use of the Bill of Rights, designed to protect we individuals, from using it to thwart the sharing of information and the subjugation of a whole industry. Residents of more than 50 other countries get simple information saying that saying that GMOs are present in a product. The freest society in the world cannot get that simple sentence.”|
As a result Right to Know CT withdrew its support from the labeling bill, as did CT NOFA, because the bill became meaningless.
However we have successfully drummed up legislative, voter and organizational support for the GMO-labeling cause, and we certainly aren’t done. Continue talking to your neighbors, friends and communities about the value of GMO-labeling. California looks like it might be on its way to a GMO-labeling provision being on their general ballot in November. Maybe if California sets the precedent, the other 19 states with proposed GMO-labeling provisions can follow!
Read more about Connecticut’s HB 5117 and what happened:
Organic farmers and advocates are concerned about the higher rates of herbicide and pesticide use encouraged by GMO crops. Consumers are concerned about potential health threats GMOs pose for people, animals and ecosystems.
CT NOFA is a partner with the national campaigns Right2Know and Just Label It!
CT NOFA is a plaintiff in a suit to prevent Monsanto from suing farmers whose crops are contaminated by patented genes