A bill that would require the labeling of foods made with GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, is wending its way through Connecticut's General Assembly and was the subject of a public hearing in Hartford on Friday, March 15.
The bill would require that as of Oct.1 of this year, any food, other than processed foods, that "is or may have been, entirely or partially genetically engineered," must contain the label "Produced With Genetic Engineering."
Genetically modified foods are those whose natural structure has been modified through the use of biotechnology. With GMOs, scientists inject the DNA of one organism into another with the hope that the recipient will benefit from the traits included in the new DNA. GMOs also include foods that are sprayed with additives to prolong their shelf life.
The legislature considered a similar bill last year but that measure failed.
On Friday dozens of people attended a hearing before the legislature's Public Health Committee on this year's GMO bill, including Jerry Greenfield, of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream fame. Greenfield testified in favor of the bill, according the blog Connecticut News Junkie.
“Consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they’re eating,” Greenfield testified. “This is not about whether you can use GMOs or not. It’s about telling people honestly, openly, and transparently what’s in food so they can decide.”
While many individuals and organic food producers support the measure, larger agricultural concerns do not, arguing it would be costly to them and difficult to implement, the Hartford Courant reports.
In testimony before the committee on Friday, Connecticut's Department of Agriculture also said the food-labeling measure would put the state's farmers at a disadvantage.