In 2013, Connecticut was one of three New England states to pass a law requiring the labeling of Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs). But it had a hitch — a trigger clause in the law requires four other states with a combined population of 20 million, including one bordering Connecticut, to adopt similar laws before labeling takes effect. This convoluted state law may soon be moot. The U.S. Senate will vote on a law, as soon as this week, to prevent states from requiring GMO food labels. This federal law would negate state laws in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont.
The proposed Senate law requires all GMO foods to be technically labeled, but allows the labels to be cryptic, misleading, and difficult to identify. For example, scannable codes tell consumers with smartphones of GMO content. What about everyone else? Federal labels direct you to “call this number for more nutritional information” or “visit this website to see full nutritional details.” These options benefit the food industry as most consumers do not take steps to obtain additional content information.
Congress proposed the law in response to Vermont’s GMO label law even though corporations such as Kellogg’s, General Mills and Campbell Soup were beginning to bend to consumer pressure to label.
There is no conclusive research that proves GMOs are safe to consume. Leila Baroody, a member of GMO Free CT, lifetime environmental science enthusiast and independent GMO blogger, explains that “foods are patented so they do not allow for scientific studies”. Patents on GMO seeds prevent independent scientists from conducting proper research, essentially “patenting freedom of speech”. Scientists conducting GMO research are silenced by big agriculture in order to protect GMO crops. Proper labels are essential for future research, without them it will be nearly impossible to accurately identify correlations between GMO foods and health issues.
We must act now to protect our right to know what is in our food. According to the Center for Food Safety, approximately 75 percent of all foods contain genetically modified elements. No one knows the long-term effects of GMO consumption. Don’t be part of the experiment. Fight to stop cryptic labeling. Contact Senator Chris Murphy at www.murphy.senate.gov/contact and Senator Richard Blumenthal at www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/. Encourage them to vote against deceptive GMO labeling.
To learn more about GMO labeling, visit Leila Baroody’s blog, www.gmoupdates.wordpress.com, or GMO Free USA atwww.gmofreeusa.org. GMO Free USA is lead by Tara Cook- Littman, the former New York City prosecutor who began GMO Free CT, she has since expanded in hopes of creating a national effort to promote GMO labeling.
Cecilia Petricone is a graduate from Northwestern Regional High School and a freshman at Boston College.