Hartford CT – The labeling of genetically engineered foods is one step closer to being a reality in Connecticut. Today the Committee on Children voted 11 to 1 in favor of House Bill 6527,“An Act Concerning Genetically Engineered Baby Food”, that would require the labeling of foods fed to infants that contain genetically engineered ingredients.
Amanda Wendt, the social media director of GMO Free CT, the grass roots organization advocating for GMO labeling in CT, stated that: “We are thrilled that HB 6527 bill has passed the committee. We are firm believers in the consumer's right to know and we love that parents are one step closer to having the information they need to feed their babies food or formula without genetically modified ingredients. This gives us great momentum moving into Friday's Public Health Committee hearing.”
Connecticut is the first state to introduce a labeling bill that specifically targets GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in baby food and infant formula.
The bill to label genetically engineered baby food was introduced by Representative Diana Urban, Chair of the Children’s Committee and a Democrat from North Stonington, CT, who has one child of her own. Urban shared that she knew about GMOs from the start and never fed them to her son and that she feels for all the mothers out there who are first learning about GMOs and are now devastated about what they fed their babies. Vice chair of the Children’s Committee, Kim Fawcett, a Democrat from Fairfield stated that “More and more we are coming to realize that GMOs represent a possible human health concern for adults and our children. With the real potential threat to human health, we must make sure to provide basic information to mothers trying to make healthy choices for their families. The work we’re doing here in Connecticut is just part of the voice of a national movement that is demanding more information and transparency about what’s in our food.”
The introduction of this bill comes on the loss of Prop 37, an initiative this past November in California, which lost narrowly after giant chemical and junk food companies donated more than $46 million to defeat the popular grassroots initiative.
Last year in Connecticut, a widely-supported GMO labeling bill was killed at the last minute during the end of the 2012 legislative session due to backroom shenanigans.
Connecticut legislators are back this year with an even greater sense of determination with two separate GMO labeling bills, HB 6519, An Act Concerning the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food, which would mandate the labeling of all processed foods, animals, fruits and vegetables that have been genetically engineered and HB 6527, An Act Concerning Genetically Engineered Baby Food.
Public hearings on HB 6519 will be held this Friday, March 15th. The sponsor of this bill, Representative Phil Miller reacted to the Children’s Committee vote, “This is great progress. We are answering the falsehoods being spread by opponents of labeling with a totality, which more than meets the requirement of proving a legitimate state interest in this legislation. Great thanks to the members of the Children's Committee for their action today."
Over one hundred and fifty Connecticut based organizations and businesses have already endorsed this bill along with national organizations including Food Democracy Now!, Organic Consumers Association and Institute for Responsible Technology.
Connecticut is part of a thirty seven state coalition of grass roots organizations, which launched their website http://www.righttoknow-gmo.org/.