Health

Connecticut governor signs bill requiring GMO labeling

Rules will take effect once four other states, including one that borders Connecticut, pass their own legislation

Labels on bags of snack foods indicate they are non-GMO food products, in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 19, 2012..
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation requiring that genetically modified foods be labeled, but the law will not be put into action until at least four more states pass similar labeling measures.

“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,” Mallow said at a local Fairfield raw foods café Wednesday.

“The end result is a law that shows our commitment to consumers’ right to know while catalyzing other states to take similar action.”

Genetically engineered organisms are injected with foreign genes, including bacteria, to create weed- and pest-resistant crops.

Mallow told supporters “this is a beginning” before he signed the bill, “this is not a movement you are going to stop.”

The bill requires four other states to enact similar legislation before Connecticut's labeling can begin. It also stipulates that the combined population of the five states must be at least 20 million and one must border Connecticut.

Maine has passed similar legislation, but cannot be enforced until its only bordering state, New Hampshire, passes a labeling bill — which its lawmakers failed to do in November.

Requiring regional adoption of GMO labeling before forcing local farms to comply is meant to protect Connecticut’s farmers and agricultural industry.

Advocates for legislation say that GMO corn and soy products have resulted in liver, kidney and bone marrow damage. Opponents argue labeling will increase food costs and hurt the livelihood of farmers.

An estimated 75 percent of grocery store products contain at least one GM ingredient. More than 800 all-natural and organic companies have pursued transparency through independent verification on roughly 12,000 products with the Non-GMO Project.

According to the Center for Food Safety, GMO labeling are being considered in 64 countries — including every member state in the European Union, China, Brazil, Japan, Australia and India – but not in the U.S. or Canada.

Alaska and Hawaii are also considering labeling proposals.

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