By Analiese Paik
You’ve no doubt heard that the CT General Assembly passed a GMO labeling bill on Monday- the first of its kind in our country. Governor Malloy has publicly said that he will sign the bill into law. Many thanks to those of you who have advocated in any form for its passage. It would not have happened without our voices and the support our state received from national organizations like Food & Water Watch.
This historic bill contains a clause that requires 4 additional Northeastern states, one neighboring us, with at least 20 million people to pass similar legislation before ours goes into effect. According to a New York Times article, New York’s GMO labeling bill was defeated in committee this week after intensive lobbying by the Council for Biotechnology Information and bills in Vermont and Maine have stalled. Consequently, there will be no change in the way genetically engineered foods are labeled in our state for the time being.
Even without immediate labeling, we have so much to celebrate. National media, which has been glaringly absent in covering GMOs for a long time, has been covering the topic in spades this year due to all the state labeling initiatives, protests against Monsanto, and a string of events precipitated by the discovery of GM wheat in an Oregon wheat field. Coverage by national media, coupled with exposure by wildly popular political satirist Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report), has catapulted the topic into mainstream conversation. This segment by Colbert is an absolutely hysterical explanation of how Monsanto’s genetically modified wheat (never approved for commercial production) wound up in an Oregon wheat field and what it means for farmers and Monsanto. Maybe Aunt Jane will even know what a GMO is at this summer’s family reunion!
The first civil lawsuit by a US wheat farmer against Monsanto has been filed in response to unapproved GMO contamination in an Oregon field and the ensuing fallout in the export market. The case may be the first to accuse Monsanto of gross negligence, but likely won’t be the last. Get the details here.
The most inspiring this news this week? Monsanto has decided that trying to convince Europe to plant GMOs is futile, and will focus on the hybrid seed market only. If the consumer backlash in the US continues, this could be us in a few years. Read the news from Europe here.
The war is still being fought against GMOs, but many battles are being won and that’s cause for celebration. Avoiding GMOs in our food remains a challenge, however, so please use the resources that we currently have at our disposal to make Non-GMO and organic choices. Please refer to our Non-GMO eating guide for a comprehensive resources.