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Organic Consumers Association

Connecticut Approves Qualified Genetic Labeling

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

 Connecticut on Monday became the first state to pass a bill that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients - but only after other conditions are met.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he would sign the bill into law, after reaching an agreement with the legislature to include a provision that the law would not take effect unless four other states, at least one of which shares a border with Connecticut, passed similar regulations.

The Connecticut bill also hinges on those states including Northeastern states with a total population of at least 20 million.

"This bill strikes an important balance by ensuring the consumers' right to know what is in their food while shielding our small businesses from liability that could leave them at a competitive disadvantage," Mr. Malloy said in a statement issued over the weekend after negotiations on the necessary provisions.

The legislature passed the bill on Monday, 134 to 3.

More than 20 other states are considering labeling laws, including New York, Maine and Vermont. Early polling suggests widespread support for a ballot initiative that would require labeling in Washington, as concern spread about the impact of genetically engineered salmon and apples on two of the state's marquee businesses.

In 2005, Alaska passed a law requiring the labeling of all genetically engineered fish and shellfish, but Connecticut would become the first state to adopt labeling broadly.

Cathleen Enright, executive vice president for food and agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said the industry supported voluntary labeling for genetically engineered ingredients. Dr. Enright noted that the Food and Drug Administration typically required labeling of foods only when issues like food safety, consumer health or nutrition were at stake.   


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