Saturday, August 22, 2015


Blumenthal urges support for Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act

By Christine Stuart
HARTFORD >> U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined advocates Thursday at the Hartford Farmers Market to urge support for the Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act.

The legislation, which was introduced in February, would require the Food and Drug Administration to clearly label genetically engineered foods “so that consumers can make informed choices about what they eat,” Blumenthal said.

Last month, the U.S. House passed H.R. 1599 — the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 — which has been dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act by opponents. It passed the House by a vote of 275 to 150.

“We are gathering today to send a message to my colleagues in Washington, D.C., the DARK Act ought to be kept in the dark,” Blumenthal said. “Consumers have a right to the light of public disclosure to let them know what’s in their food.”

Blumenthal opined that it’s unlikely the legislation will pass the U.S. Senate.

“We will drive a stake through the heart of the DARK Act,” Blumenthal said.

He said state rights, when it comes to labeling, should prevail.

Connecticut was the first state in the nation to pass a bill requiring labeling of genetically engineered food. But the triggers in that legislation — specifically a requirement that other Northeast states with a combined population of 20 million people pass similar legislation — have yet to be met.

Tara Cook-Littman, chairwoman of Citizens for GMO Labeling, said Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have passed labeling bills, but Massachusetts or New York would also have to pass a labeling bill before Connecticut would require labeling. Both Connecticut’s and Maine’s legislation include triggers. Vermont’s legislation does not.

However, Cook-Littman said advocates would be back this year to ask the Connecticut legislature to pass a labeling bill without a trigger provision. She said Vermont, which has a much smaller population than Connecticut, is set to implement its law in July 2016.

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