Connecticut Becomes, Conditionally, First State to Require Genetically Modified Food Labeling

Thursday, June 06, 2013
(photo: CT Senate Democrats)

Connecticut could become the first state in the U.S. to require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) — but only if some of its neighbors go along with the plan.


Under legislation adopted overwhelmingly by the state legislature, Connecticut will mandate GMO labeling if: four other states, at least one of which shares a border with Connecticut, pass similar regulations, and if those states include Northeastern ones with a total population of at least 20 million.


Governor Daniel Malloy (D), who promised to sign the legislation, said in a prepared statement: “This bill strikes an important balance by ensuring the consumers’ right to know what is in their food while shielding our small businesses from liability that could leave them at a competitive disadvantage.”


The legislature adopted the bill, 134 to 3.


Supporters for the measure had faced formidable opposition, allegedly from the biotech industry which is said to have funneled money into an industry “front group” called Connecticut Farm to Food. Its sponsors include the Council for Biotechnology Information (a biotech industry trade group), the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Two of those three are based not in Connecticut, but in Washington, D.C.


Lawmakers in more than 20 other states are debating GMO labeling laws, including New York, Maine, and Vermont. Federal legislation has also been introduced to require such labeling nationwide.


Outside of the U.S., 64 countries—including China, South Africa, and all countries in the European Union—require GMO foods to be labeled.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Connecticut Approves Labeling Genetically Modified Foods (by Stephanie Strom, New York Times)

Center for Food Safety Heralds Passage of First Ever State Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Bill (Center for Food Safety)

Connecticut Makes History as First State to Pass GMO Food Labeling Law (by Michele Simon, Food Democracy Now!)

OLR Bill Analysis: sHB 6527 - An Act Concerning Genetically Engineered Baby Food (Connecticut House Bill)

As Ad Money Pours In, Support for GMO Labeling Plummets (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)       

Controversial GMO Report Highlights Dearth of Scientific Studies (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)  

Whole Foods Accused of Accepting Genetically Modified Foods (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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