Connecticut Moves to Label GMOs

The state backs legislative measure amid health concerns

Connecticut legislators voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new measure requiring producers to label whether a food is genetically modified, Businessweek reports.

The measure, passed 23-6 by the Environment Committee, is hailed as a new way to inform consumers of the growing health concerned over genetically modified foods (GMO). As it stands, neither the federal nor state governments require GMO labels, and Connecticut is one of 20 states considering a similar law. Democratic Rep. Richard Roy, the committee's House chairman, said, "It's something that's coming, and I think we can be in the forefront in helping shape how it's done."

However, not everyone is on board: Connecticut's Department of Agriculture is against the measure, saying that it will put the state at an economic disadvantage when competing with other states' markets. Plus, it would rule against foods that are modified to deal with the effects of drought, reduce pesticide use, and increase productions. But supporters of the measure argue that consumers have a right to know what they're eating.

The Department of Agriculture, with other opponents, say it's the federal government — and the FDA's — responsibility to set the standard for food labels. In other GMO news, a consumer group called Just Label It is nearing the end of its petition to the FDA to label GMO food. Its petition, set to end on March 27, has collected more than 990,000 signatures, said spokesperson Sue McGovern. After the petition closes, the FDA is required to give a response but organizers are unsure of what will happen.