When you go grocery shopping in Connecticut, you might see something new on food labels.
A law was officially passed Wednesday that requires foods that are entirely or partially genetically engineered, to be labeled as such.
Governor Dannel Malloy was joined by lawmakers and advocates at a ceremonial bill signing in Fairfield, Wednesday, to commemorate the final passage of the legislation, Public Act 13-183. It states genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, need to be indicated on food labels by law. Connecticut is the first state to require the GMO labeling.
“I am proud that leaders from each of the legislative caucuses can come together to make our state the first in the nation to require the labeling of GMOs,” said Governor Malloy. “The end result is a law that shows our commitment to consumers’ right to know while catalyzing other states to take similar action.”
Connecticut’s GMO labeling law goes into effect only after four other states enact similar legislation. Additionally, any combination of northeastern states with a combined population of at least 20 million – including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey – must adopt similar laws.
The bill also includes language that protects Connecticut farmers by ensuring regional adoption of the new labeling system before requiring local farms to analyze and label genetically engineered products.
“I want to thank Tara Cook-Littman, of GMO Free CT, and Representative Phil Miller who’ve been outspoken champions for GMO Labeling in the legislature,” said Malloy. “I also want to be clear: This law does not ban anything. It requires the labeling of food products that have been modified with genetic engineering and do not occur naturally.”
“Families have the right to know whether the food they purchase has been genetically modified,” said Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn). “Thanks to the work of grassroots advocates, Connecticut's first-in-the-nation GMO labeling legislation moves us closer to having the transparency we deserve to make informed, healthy choices.”
“Passing this bill is courageous and monumental,” said Rep. Philip Miller (D-Essex). “It is an affirmation for healthy, sustainable agriculture and responsible stewardship of our food supply. The ever growing grassroots efforts of Connecticut citizens has come to fruition with the passing of this legislation. I thank Governor Malloy for being a champion of our right to participate in building our economy as fully informed consumers and citizens.”
“This bill moves forward and reinforces our fundamental right to know what is in our food so we can make informed choices about what we feed our families,” said Rep. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield-Trumbull). “Consumers may or may not wish to purchase foods that they know to be genetically modified, but they need the information made available to them to make those informed choices.”
"I'm proud to have worked with Tara Cook-Littman and advocates to pass the first in the nation GMO labeling bill,” said Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield). I'm hopeful the rest of the nation will follow Connecticut's lead.”
“As the catalyst for GMO labeling in the United States, Connecticut residents should feel proud. We are hopeful that legislators throughout the Northeast will follow the lead of Governor Malloy and all our legislative champions by passing laws that give consumers transparency in labeling. It is a great honor for all of us to stand with Governor Malloy as he signs the first in the nation GMO labeling law,” said Tara Cook-Littman, director of GMO Free CT.
More than 60 countries have adopted mandatory labeling laws, including the European Union.