GMO Labeling Bill Takes Important Step Toward Passage

Media Contacts


Boston – A bill that would give consumers clear labels for GMO food ingredients today cleared the Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture, a critical first step on the road to passage. H. 3242, The Genetic Engineering Transparency Food Labeling Act, would require clear labeling of food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients (commonly called “GMOs”).

The Massachusetts Coalition for GMO Labeling applauded the move by House Chair Paul Schmid (D-Westport) and Senate Chair Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) to advance the bill, which enjoys strong bipartisan support across both chambers of the Massachusetts legislature.

“Passage of the GMO bill from committee is an important step toward giving consumers more information about the food they eat and feed their families,” said Deirdre Cummings, of MASSPIRG. “We are looking forward to working with leadership in both branches and our 154 cosponsors to make sure this is the best bill for consumers and bring it to floor for a vote in both the House and Senate.”

Similar laws have recently passed in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont, which is the first to go into effect in July. Supporters cautioned that there is still work to do on the bill as it moves through the legislative process; including making sure the bill mirrors what other early adopters have done and takes effect shortly after Vermont’s law is implemented this July.

“We’re glad to see the bill moving, but this is just the first step,” said Martin Dagoberto of MA Right to Know GMOs. “With all this support on such a hot issue, the time is right for Massachusetts to join with its neighbors and set a national, uniform standard for GMO labeling.”

Congress is currently considering a voluntary GMO labeling bill, opposed by  consumer groups across the country including every member of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation The bill, known as the Denying Americans the Right-to-Know (DARK) Act, was advanced by the Senate Agricultural Committee earlier this week, and could emerge for a vote in the full Senate soon. Among the many problems with bill it would prohibit the FDA from adopting mandatory GMO food labeling and preempt states from doing the same. Instead the bill establishes only a voluntary labeling program.

The Massachusetts Coalition for GMO Labeling will continue working with the bill’s sponsors and more than 470 local farms, businesses and organizations to pass a strong GMO labeling law before the end of the 2016 legislative session.