By Analiese Paik
It’s been incredibly eye opening to see democracy in action and to be an active participant in our legislative process. As I prepared to give live testimony last Wednesday, February 22, in support of HB 5117, An Act Concerning Genetically-Engineered Foods, I really didn’t know what to expect other than a 3 minute time limit and an opportunity to speak longer if I was asked questions by committee members. I’m grateful to Rep. Tony Hwang of Fairfield for encouraging me to bring my kids. I’m not sure they would have made it through the very long day without the tour of the Capitol he’d arranged for us in the morning. My husband decided to come too, and I am forever grateful for his support that day and every day.
As the day unfolded it became patently obvious that many of those who oppose HB 5117, an act that would mandate labeling of genetically modified foods in our state, felt that the FDA was responsible for monitoring the safety of our food supply and had conducted thorough and ongoing safety testing on GMOs. The fact is that the FDA declared 20 years ago that GMOs are not materially different from their conventional counterparts and therefore were generally recognized as safe and required no safety testing. I fail to see how GM corn that produces its own pesticides is not materially different from conventional corn. While we’re waiting for the FDA to update its arcane rules, it is essential to label GMOs so consumers can make informed choices. I was relieved to be able to share this information during my prepared testimony and during the question period that followed.
You can read an even-handed recap of part of the day’s testimony here: Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2012, Conn. bill looks to add labels to engineered food, by the Associated Press. I was very happy to be quoted, and accurately at that! Thank you all those who submitted testimony and/or made the commitment to spend the day in Hartford testifying. Together we can make a difference.
You can read my full testimony here.
You can read all submitted testimony – for or against – here.
You can access the bill here.
3 Ways to Support GMO Labeling
1) Write your CT state legislators and ask them to support HB 5117, An Act Concerning Genetically-Engineered Foods. Most urgently, write member of the Environment Committee currently reviewing the bill, asking them to support it and attend the event in item 2) below. Names and email addresses of committee members can be found here.
2) Attend the Environment Committee’s special news conference and legislative forum this Friday, March 2, 2012, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 pm. The Environment Committee will hold a news conference, followed by a legislative forum on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) sponsored by State Representative Richard Roy. Following the news conference supporting HB 5117, An Act Requiring the Labeling of Genetically-Engineered Foods, national expert on the subject, Jeffrey Smith, will lead a legislative forum on the subject. A question and answer session will follow. Please arrive early to find parking, then head to the Old Appropriations, Room 310 at the Capitol in Hartford, CT.
3) Sign the Just Label It! petition asking FDA Commissioner Hamburg to label genetically modified foods.
Please share this post with your friends and contact, urging them to make their voices heard. Thank you.