In Connecticut, GMO Labeling Bill Passes, But Don't Look for Labels Right Away

Jun 3, 2013

Connecticut lawmakers have passed a “first-in-the-nation” law, mandating the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs in food products. It’s headed to the Governor for his signature, but that doesn’t mean it goes into effect anytime soon.

Passage by the state house was the final step in a convoluted series of maneuvers that included a bipartisan agreement reached over the weekend. It requires any food meant for human consumption to have a label that says “Produced with Genetic Engineering.”

But the law - and the label - won’t go into effect until four states, including at least one that borders Connecticut, and with a combined population of 20 million, pass a similar bill.

The “hedge” comes because Connecticut didn’t want to be the target of suits by big agri-businesses which produce most GMO products in the US. They also didn’t want Connecticut farmers to be put at a disadvantage in the Northeast marketplace.  The Connecticut Farm Bureau, which lobbied against the bill, said they still believe that the GMO issue needs a national solution, not one that’s state-by-state.

In Vermont, the state house passed a labeling bill last month. Vermont's senate takes it up next session.