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Minnesota, the Next Battleground State in the Fight to Label GMOs

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Minnesota News page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Genetic Engineering page.

 Two pieces of legislation recently introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate could soon make the Land of 10,000 Lakes the first in the nation to require the labeling of all foods that contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). If passed, H.F. 850 and S.F. 821 would require that all food products containing GM ingredients bear the words "Produced with Genetic Engineering," a simple and straightforward phrase that would help Minnesotans make better and more informed food purchasing decisions.

Following the seemingly fraudulent defeat of Proposition 37 in California last fall, more than 20 states, including Minnesota, have since introduced their own versions of GMO labeling legislation. On February 21, Representative Karen Clark of Minneapolis introduced H.F. 850, and a week later, Senator John Marty of Roseville introduced S.F. 821. The House bill specifically addresses the mandatory labeling aspect of the intended new law, while the Senate bill specifically prohibits the undisclosed sale of GM seeds and food.

"It's such a basic right, the right to know what's in the food you're eating," explains Rep. Clark, whose bill intendedly complements S.F. 821. "This legislation is really a very moderate step. It doesn't ban genetically modified ingredients. It just lets consumers know about them so they can make their own choices."

Not surprisingly, in a state heavily controlled by corporate agriculture interests, efforts are already afoot to block the legislation from passing. The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), for instance, which represents many a cohort of Minnesota farmers that grow GMOs, has already indicated its opposition to GMO labeling efforts, at least at the state level. The group says it does; however, support GMO labeling at the national level, according to the Star Tribune.

"Consumers want to know what's in the food they buy, and some people want to know if it's got [GE ingredients," said Doug Peterson, head of MFU, to the Star Tribune in apparent support of national GMO labeling requirements.


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