Family farmers organization wants GMO labeling in CT

An organization that advocates for family farms is praising passage of a bill in the Connecticut state Senate that would require food manufactures to label genetically-modified (GMO) foods.

“Consumers have a right to know if the food they eat and feed to their families has been genetically-modified foods,” said Lisa Stokke, co-founder of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of more than 650,000 farmers and citizens working to protect family farm agriculture and the environment.

“Politicians need to stop playing politics with the food we eat,” Stokke said.

‘Bipartisan approach’ is praised

On May 21, the state Senate voted 35-1 for the legislation. Stokke applauded Democratic Senate President Donald Williams and Republican Senate Minority Leader John McKinney for leading a  “bipartisan effort” to approve the bill.

Similar legislation now would need to be passed by the state House of Representatives before it could be signed by the governor and become law.

Stokke is urging Connecticut House Speaker Brendan Sharkey to bring a bill to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote in that legislative chamber.

Dependent on action in other states

The bill, as currently drafted, requires that three other states pass similar legislation before July 2016 for the Connecticut law to go into effect, according to a Food Democracy Now! press release.

There now are 37 states working to pass GMO labeling legislation, the release stated, while 64 other countries already require labeling on genetically-engineered food products.

“Connecticut is setting an example for the rest of the country to follow,” Stokke said. “The time for GMO labeling is now ... For the past 20 years, Americans have been denied this basic democratic right.”

Rally at the state Capitol

Earlier this week, Food Democracy Now! members joined with GMO Free CT representatives at a state Capitol rally to push for passage of GMO legislation in Connecticut.

Two different bills have been introduced in the House. HB 6519 would require food manufacturers to label genetically-modified foods in the state of Connecticut, and HB 6527 would require the labeling of genetically-modified baby foods.

The Senate voted to approve SB 802.