Connecticut might have become the first state to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). At least that was what a grassroots group of activists and numerous legislators had hoped. HB 5117, the bill concerning genetically engineered foods included a provision that would have required labeling of foods containing (GMOs) — but that was Thursday. As of Friday that provision was removed from the bill.
In a post on Fairfield Green Food Guide entitled "Connecticut's GE Foods Bill Eviscerated by Lawyers," Analiese Paik indicated the "bill remains alive, but it no longer requires the labeling of genetically engineered foods."
Paik, co founder of Right to Know CT, worked closely with Rep. Richard Roy of Milford, the co-chair of the Environment Committee and original sponsor of the bill. In her post, Paik quotes Roy as stating, “Residents of more than 50 other countries get simple information saying that... GMOs are present in a product. The freest society in the world cannot get that simple sentence.”
According to the article, Roy also said that there were fears that labeling could leave the state vulnerable to a lawsuit and that Gov. Malloy's office felt they had "to protect the welfare of the state."
Genetically engineered foods, which are derived from GMOs, are in 80 percent of packaged foods, according to Right to Know CT's Web site, and have never been proven safe for human consumption, but have been on the market for the last two decades.
" which was attended by Senator Richard Blumenthal and several state representatives, the prevailing point of view was that citizens have the right to know what is in their food.
At the forum, Blumenthal, a Greenwich resident, said, "This is an issue where the recurring quality is the consumer's right to know." At that event numerous panelists, including state representatives emphasized that 50 other countries have already limited or banned GMOs.
, co-founder of Right to KnowCT and Patch blogger, said that the group worked for months on the grassroots campaign to require GMO labeling, which culminated into a rally last Friday in Hartford, but will no longer endorse HB5117. She explained that although she was initially crushed to learn of the removal of the labeling provision from the bill, she remains resolute.
"It may seem like we lost this battle, but in reality, what happened in Connecticut has only strengthened our troops. They don't realize it yet, but they woke a sleeping bear," she said. "Or to quote my Right to Know co-founder Analiese, 'They kicked the hornets nest.'"