GMO labeling might need New York
Connecticut made headlines last week for passing the nation’s first GMO labeling law. It would mean that foods containing genetically modified organisms would need to be labeled as such before being sold in the state.
According to the Just Label It campaign, 64 countries already require GMO foods to be labeled.
But Connecticut’s law only goes into effect if New York, or other nearby states, first pass their own labeling laws.
The International Business Times explains it:
"In order for a GMO labeling regime to begin in Connecticut, the new law requires that four other states, including one bordering Connecticut, pass similar laws; and that any combination of other Northeast region states with a combined population of more than 20 million must also have passed similar laws.
That means that though the Nutmeg State is the first to pass a GMO labeling law — which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to sign, by the way — it will not require foods containing genetically engineered products to be labeled unless New York, Massachusetts or Rhode Island (for starters) does the same."
The IBT reports that an “army of lobbyists” from Monsanto and other biotech companies and organizations pressured lawmakers to water down its law this way.
And for the moment, it looks like New York isn’t rushing to give Connecticut’s law some teeth.
A GMO labeling bill was defeated in a NY Assembly committee last week.
But Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, the bill’s lead sponsor, is still encouraged. Here’s what she told the NY Daily News:
"The fact that this bill made it to an agenda demonstrates the distinct desire on the part of the New York State Assembly to tackle tough issues, and is also illustrative of tremendous impact that the advocates nationwide have had on this debate," Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal says she’s confident the bill will eventually pass. “The people deserve to know what they are putting into their bodies, and this setback only strengthens my resolve to see this bill become law."
Other eastern states are also waiting to see what happens in New York.
The Vermont House of Representatives passed a GMO labeling law last month, but Rep. Tom Koch, a Republican, told the IBT why doesn’t want his state to be the first to enact it.
"The only problem I have with it is that I'm sure it will be challenged in court and will cost probably a couple million dollars to defend it, win, lose or draw. And that's my problem. I think we have a good chance of losing."
The so-called army of biotech lobbyists seems well aware that if New York approves a GMO labeling law, much of the east coast could follow suit. When the NY Assembly committee considered Rosenthal’s bill, a lobbyist representing genetically modified food giants Monsanto and DuPont attended the vote.
Tags: business, food, GMO, Monsanto, politics, regulation