By Analiese Paik
Connecticut’s Genetically Engineered Foods bill may still be alive, but it is no longer a bill requiring the labeling of GE foods. As of last night, the labeling provision was removed. Why was this bill eviscerated?
Rep. Richard Roy of Milford, co-chair of the Environment Committee and the original sponsor of the bill, when reached for comment this morning said “I feel very strongly that someone or some state has to challenge the use of the Bill of Rights, designed to protect we individuals, from using it to thwart the sharing of information and the subjugation of a whole industry. Residents of more than 50 other countries get simple information saying that saying that GMOs are present in a product. The freest society in the world cannot get that simple sentence.”
I asked Rep. Roy why the labeling provision was removed from his bill, the Act Concerning Genetically Engineered Foods. “The labeling provision was eliminated from the bill due to fears that it opened the state up to a lawsuit. The attorneys for the leadership and Governor’s office felt that the Constitutional Rights of Monsanto gave them the power to successfully sue the state. Their main duty was to protect the welfare of the state” said Roy.
Tara Cook-Littman, my fearless partner in leading Right to Know CT, repeated what she’s been saying for weeks about the constitutionality of the bill. “The constitutional argument is absurd, and everyone knows it. As long as Connecticut law makers had a legitimate state interest that was reasonably related to the labeling of products produced from the process of genetic engineering, the GMO labeling bill would be considered constitutional by any court of law.” Littman added, “It appears that the biotech industry’s influence was in place all along, waiting for this tactic to be deployed at the last minute, with no time to argue before the vote.”
Right to Know CT will no longer endorse or support HB 5117, An Act Concerning Genetically Engineered Foods. I said to Rep. Roy this mornings “you are our hero and we supported your bill, but this is no longer a bill that reflects your intent to label and we must register our discontent by withdrawing our support.”
We will not go quietly into the night. Will you?