March 3, 2016
NEW GMO LABELING PROPOSAL IS UNENFORCEABLE AND UNDERMINES CURRENT CONNECTICUT LAW
H.5300 would require unnecessary and inconsistent labeling of specific foods
(Hartford, Conn.) Today, scientists and food industry experts spoke out against a proposal that seeks to chip away at the current GMO labeling law in Connecticut by forcing select labeling of specific products.
HB 5300 was heard today by the Committee on Children. The bill as written would carve out certain products including infant formula and “children’s foods” and require labeling of such products that contain genetically engineered ingredients or GMOs. The measure is seen as unenforceable and unnecessary by food and manufacturing industry experts.
In 2013, Connecticut passed legislation mandating labeling of products containing GMOs, with specific trigger clauses that needed to be met before the law would take effect, including passage of similar laws by neighboring states. Since then, surrounding states like New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have declined to pass GMO labeling initiatives.
During today’s testimony it was also pointed out that there is legislation pending on the federal level that would establish a nationwide, voluntary GMO labeling system, eliminating a patchwork of confusing individual state labeling laws.
“How would manufacturers or store owners determine what constitutes a “children’s food?” asked Tim Phelan, President of the Connecticut Retail Merchant’s Association. “Asking store owners to police this sort of policy is unrealistic to enforce at best, and detrimental to the businesses and the customers we serve here in Connecticut.”
Since the GMO labeling legislation was passed in 2013, there have been several attempts to “carve out” certain products from the law’s trigger clause.
“This is just another attempt by the anti-science movement in our state to discredit foods and products that are completely safe and nutritionally equal,” said Paul Pescatello, Executive Director of CBIA’s Bioscience Growth Council. “GMO technology is a great advancement that will enable us to feed the growing world population. Efforts to make GMOs seem scary or unsafe to the general public are irresponsible.”