Legislative Update

What is happening to your

Health Freedoms?

Food Freedom Legislation – Mandatory GMO Labeling: Fifty countries including the European Union and Japan have laws mandating that genetically engineered foods be labeled, but the U.S. does not have such a requirement. Public opinion polls indicate that over 90 percent of American voters support the labeling of genetically engineered foods.

On June 11, 2012 California Secretary of State announced that the California Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act qualified to be on the November 6 ballot! Volunteers submitted physical signatures in excess of the 560,000 necessary for a successful Ballot Initiative by the deadline of April 22, 2012 and food freedom activists have been awaiting this confirmation nationwide in hope that success in California will set the trend for consumers’ right to know of GMOs nationwide.

Note: The Committee for the Right to Know submitted the CA "Right to Know Act" Ballot Initiative to the State Attorney General on November 9, 2011. The Committee for the Right to Know “is a grassroots coalition of consumer, public health, environmental organizations and food companies in California that are seeking the labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).” Read the Initiative HERE http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.Cloudfront.net/labelgmos/pages/31/ attachments/original/CA-Right-to-Know- Initiative12.pdf?1324916176.

More on State GMO-Labeling: As of June 2012, over 20 states have introduced legislation to require labeling of foods containing or produced with GMOs, genetically engineered foods, in some fashion or another. The bills introduced in WA, VT, CT, and OR are similar and would fill the gap in consumer knowledge by requiring that:

Processed foods that contain GMO derived ingredients be labeled as containing genetically engineered food.

Foods about to come on the market that are wholly themselves a genetically modified organism (Corn-on-the-cobb, Salmon) be clearly labeled as genetically engineered.

The labeling, advertising and marketing of genetically engineered foods using terms such as “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” or “all natural” are misleading to consumers and therefore GMO products cannot be labeled as such.

Connecticut House Bill No. 5117, “An Act Concerning Genetically-Engineered Foods”: This bill (introduced February 16, 2012) would require the labeling of foods containing GMOs. H.B. 5117 was favorably passed out of the Joint House and Senate Environmental Committee on March 21, 2012 and sent to the House floor where it will likely be assigned to other committees before moving back to the House Floor and over to the Senate. H.B. 5117 would place the burden of disclosure on the manufacturers using the ingredients of concern by requiring a label for GMO containing foods. Currently there is no law requiring the labeling of foods containing or produced with genetically modified organisms. Without such disclosures mandated by law, manufacturers may voluntarily inform consumers of products containing GMOs but are choosing not to do so. To alleviate the void in information, consumer-friendly manufacturers and independent organizations assume the burden of labeling products without GMOs as “GMO-free.” Bill available here http:// www.cga.ct.gov/2012/TOB/H/2012HB- 05117-R00-HB.htm

Vermont House Bill No. 722, Mandating Labeling of GMO Foods: On March 27, 2012, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on the bill (introduced February 1, 2012) and Vermont health freedom advocates are anxiously awaiting a vote. H.B. 722, like CT’s bill, grants consumers the right to know of the presence of GMOs. Bill available here http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2012/bills/ Intro/H-722.pdf

New Jersey House Bill No. 1367 and Rhode Island House Bill No. 7494 also mandate labeling of GMO foods and remain alive this session, the latter of which was recommended it be held for further study on March 14, 2012, by the Rhode Island House Health, Education and Welfare Committee. Additional states introduced GMO-Label related legislation this session, including Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

GMO Seeds, Plants and Animals— Contracts and Causes of Action: Vermont House Bill No. 733, introduced by Representative Eldred French in 2012, establishes a cause of action in trespass against the manufacturer of a genetically engineered seed or genetically engineered plant part when such seed or plant part enters the property of a person engaged in an agricultural activity and causes damages and provides that indemnification clauses in seed contracts are against public policy and are void and unenforceable.

West Virginia House Bill No. 2180, introduced by Representative Mike Manypenny in 2012, creates the Genetically Engineered Crop and Animal Farmer Protection Act, which requires genetically engineered seeds to be so labeled and establishes measures to be taken to avoid cross pollination of genetically engineered plants and seeds, while also providing for civil and citizen suits.

On the US Federal Front for GMOLabeling: The citizen petition to require labeling of genetically modified foods, filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 19, 2011 by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of the “Just Label It” campaign, continues to draw public support. At the time this is going to print, over 600,000 people have submitted comments supporting mandatory labeling. Further, a bipartisan group of 55 members of Congress, 45 House members and 10 senators, joined in supporting the petition and urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods; read the letter here: http://www.centerforfoodsafety. org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Final- Signed-GE-Labeling-Letter.pdf

Public comments can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov.

Information provided by the National Health Freedom Coalition, www.Nationalhealthfreedom.org