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Center for Food Safety Heralds Passage of First Ever State Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Bill
June 3rd, 2013

Connecticut bill gets support from both House and Senate, signaling major victory for food movement

Center for Food Safety (CFS) applauds the Connecticut legislature for passing the first-ever bill requiring the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.  The amended bill passed out of the Senate over the weekend, and the House today.  Governor Malloy announced his support of the measure on Saturday, paving the way for precedent setting legislation.

Center for Food Safety has been at the front of the fight to inform consumers about GE foods for over a decade through providing model legislation and legal analysis, testifying at state hearings, and submitting a legal petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to demand the labeling of GE foods.  The Connecticut legislation was adopted from language written by CFS attorneys, and state legislators incorporated many changes proposed by CFS.

 “Numerous other states in the Northeast and around the country are actively considering pending GE food labeling bills.  Connecticut’s leadership provides momentum and an incentive for these other states to move forward,” stated Rebecca Spector, who spearheads state GE labeling legislative efforts at CFS. “Other states should now pass GE labeling laws, providing millions of U.S. consumers with the basic right to know how their food is produced.”

The bill provides strong labeling requirements for most foods produced through genetic engineering – however the bill contains a recently added trigger clause stating the law will only go into effect when four additional states in the northeast (including one state bordering Connecticut) with an aggregate population of 20 million enact mandatory labeling laws for genetically-engineered foods. GE food labeling bills have been offered in 26 states so far this year.

“While Connecticut has set the stage for wide-ranging action on GE food labeling, it is not a perfect bill. CFS opposes the late addition of the trigger clause, which unnecessarily puts on hold what consumers and lawmakers have already validated as important legislation,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at CFS.

Sixty-four nations including China, South Africa, and all countries in the European Union currently require GE foods to be labeled. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently introduced federal legislation that would require nationwide labeling of GE products.

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About Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety is a national, non-profit, membership organization founded in 1997 to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.  CFS maintains offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon, and has more than 300,000 members across the country.  More information can be found at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

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