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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: GMO Labeling Law Awaits Signature

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  AUGUST 4, 2016 --

Have you submitted your resolutions to the State Grange yet? It is not too late to send a resolution in. The deadline for submitting resolutions for the 2016 session is September 15th.  We have had some great discussions at the state convention on your resolutions. Resolutions concerning Grange law and national issues may be sent to National Grange for discussion as well.

On the national level, Congress just passed a GMO labeling bill that is now heading to the President. The Senate passed it earlier in the month. This was in response to the government and food industry concern about state-by-state patchworks of laws concerning GMO labeling.  They wanted to bring some consistency to the labeling laws. The Connecticut General Assembly passed our own bill a couple of years ago but it has not gone into effect yet. Ours required neighboring states to approve similar bills before being activated. The state of Vermont did pass a strict GMO label law that has gone into effect but this new national law will preempt it.

The new GMO labeling law would require most food packages to carry ether a text label, a symbol or an electronic code readable by smart phones that indicates if the product contains GMO Modified ingredients. This bill gives the US Department of Agriculture two years to write up rules for this new legislation.

There will be some exemptions from the labeling law. Foods primarily consisting of beef, poultry, pork or eggs will not be required to be labeled, even if the feed the animals eat contain GMO corn or soybeans.

Agricultural and food industry groups have supported this legislation. Some groups have expressed concern that consumers will not be able to read the electronic labels. According to the food industry about 75 to 80 percent of food contain some genetically modified ingredients, mostly corn and soy beans. This legislation will provide consumers with the information they have asked for concerning GMO ingredients in their foods.


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