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Connecticut Sets Precedent With GMO Legislation

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut will require manufacturers to label genetically modified foods, but only after four other states — including one that borders Connecticut — enact similar measures. In addition, any combination of Northeastern states with a combined population of at least 20 million must mandate GMO labeling.

The State's House and Senate leaders compromised on the bill that's expected to be signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy once the provisions are included, according to reports. 


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“This bill strikes an important balance by ensuring the consumers’ right to know what is in their food while shielding our small businesses from liability that could leave them at a competitive disadvantage,” said Malloy in a statement.

GM foods sold in Connecticut will bear the message “Produced with Genetic Engineering.”

More than two-dozen states, including some in New England, are considering similar laws. The Vermont State House of Representatives passed a GMO bill, which will go before the State Senate some time next year, according to reports. In Maine, the State Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee approved a GMO labeling measure last month.

The constitutionality of state laws that mandate GMO disclosure are expected to be challenged. A recently proposed amendment to the Farm Bill would have protected states from such lawsuits, but it was rejected.

Stan Sorkin, president of the Connecticut Food Association, which represents 240 food retailers, wholesalers, distributors and service providers, opposes mandatory labeling, calling it “superfluous and expensive.”

But Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of more than a half million farmers and citizens, applauded the state for supporting the consumer's right to know.

“It has been amazing to witness the power of the grassroots in this David vs. Goliath battle,” said Lisa Stokke, founder and director of Food Democracy Now!, in a statement. “Connecticut has passed a strong bill that will protect consumers as it should.” 

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