Connecticut passes first ever GMO labeling legislation
Should hiding GMO’s be a crime? Lawmakers in several states are now lobbying for your right to know whether or not your food has been genetically messed with.
Connecticut recently became the first state to pass a bill ordering all GMO-containing foods to be clearly labeled as “produced with genetic engineering.” As soon as Connecticut’s bold move has the backing of similar laws in neighboring states, every GMO item in the supermarket will either sport this phrase on its package, crate, or shelf, or face fines up to ,000 per product each day. A few items, like alcoholic beverages and foods sold in restaurants and farmers' markets, will get a pass.
“In terms of farmers' markets, we wanted to not unduly burden folks who are selling directly,” says Connecticut senator Donald E. Williams, Jr., who helped pass the legislation.
The catch? Connecticut, with a population of 3.5 million, still needs four nearby states with at least 20 million residents between them to follow its lead before the law can take effect. This strength-in-numbers strategy will give food manufacturers no room to dismiss the bill. “If we’ve got five states with a combined population of more than 20 million, then the market is absolutely there,” says Sen. Williams.
Connecticut lawmakers are currently working to get New York, and its 19 million residents, on board, while similar bills in Maine and Vermont are in the final stages of approval. Sen. Williams says residents in Connecticut and the states that join it can hope to see changes in their supermarkets within the next 2 years, and he's optimistic that nationwide changes won’t be far behind.
If fellow northeast states don’t support Connecticut, however, he says they’ll consider putting it into effect as long as other heavyweights, like California, pass GMO-transparent laws, too.
“I know that many states are considering this—people want to know what’s in their food,” he says.
Video: Maine passes GMO labeling law
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