GM food labeling initiatives move forward in many states

Published: February 28, 2013

Category: GM Food Labeling

Monsanto patents and label gmos

Photo courtesy of Vermont Right to Know

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Washington. Initiative 522, known as “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” has moved on to the Legislature. Sponsored by Chris McManus, advertising executive from Tacoma, the initiative gathered over 350,000 signatures.

The Legislature can either do nothing, which would push I-522 onto the November ballot for a public vote; enact it directly; or change it, which would send an alternate version plus the original to the ballot.

Hawaii. The House Committee on Agriculture passed a bill requiring labeling of genetically modified foods, but amended the measure to apply only to GMO whole foods, or fresh produce, imported from outside Hawaii.

The Senate Energy & Environment committee also passed an even broader bill for the first time, said GMO labeling advocate Senator Mike Gabbard. It would require labeling of all GM fish products sold in Hawaii as well as whole foods, such as papaya and corn. Distributors on the Big Island are already labeling GMO papaya on its way to Japan.

Vermont. GMO labeling bill H.112 was introduced on January 29, put forth by 50 Representatives, including Republicans, Democrats, and Progressives. The bill was sent to the Vermont House Committee on Agriculture, just as last year’s bill was. A similar bill should reach the Senate soon.

Connecticut. Connecticut lawmakers plan to introduce at least two bills into the state’s general assembly that would require labeling of genetically modified food in the state. Democratic state representatives Phil Miller of Ivoryton and Diana Urban of North Stonington are proposing the legislation.

California. After the defeat of Prop 37 last November, the California Right to Know campaign plans to return at full steam in 2014.

“No one likes losing, especially those of us who formed the steering committee for Prop 37,” the steering committee wrote. “But we want you to know that your hard work and sacrifice built an enduring movement to label GMOs here in the US.”

Missouri. Democrat Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis has sponsored a bill filed in the Missouri Senate, requiring all genetically modified meat and fish raised and sold in the state to be labeled.

New Mexico. The GM labeling bill sponsored by Senator Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, has died when the state’s Senate rejected a report on the bill from the Senate Public Affairs Committee.

Maryland, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Illinois.

In Maryland, six lawmakers introduced House Bill 903, which requires that foods sold in the state produced through genetic engineering are misbranded if labeling requirements are not met.

In Rhode Island, H5278 requires that all food derived from genetically modified organisms must be labeled before being sold in Rhode Island. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

In Iowa, State Senator Joe Bolkum introduced Senate File 194. “Consumers want to know what is in their food,” he said. “This is a simple bill that gives consumers information they want.”

Illinois Senator Dave Koehler introduced SB 1666, a bill that would require GMO labeling in Illinois.

(Sources: Seattle Times; Food Safety News; Associated Press; The Garden Island;; Digital Journal; Kansas City Public Media; Albuquerque Business First)


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