Majority of State Legislators Support GMO Food Labeling

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Today, a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law announced that a majority of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have pledged their support for GMO food labeling legislation. In total, 142 Massachusetts legislators – including 119 from the House of Representatives and 23 from the Senate – have signed on in support of GMO labeling legislation. Foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients are commonly known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

MASSPIRG’s Deirdre Cummings at State House Event – back row from R to L, Representatives Ellen Story, Stephen Di’Natale, Rhonda Nyman, William Pignatelli, and Todd Smola

“We are extremely lucky to have so many incredible legislators supporting this effort here in Massachusetts,” said Martin Dagoberto, Campaign Coordinator at the MA Right to Know GMOs coalition. “The level of support from both the House and Senate, as well as from residents from across the state speaks to the momentum behind passing a GMO labeling bill this session.”

Recently, Senate President Pro Tempore Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge) became the twenty-first member of the Senate to endorse H. 3996, a GMO labeling bill, giving it a majority of support in that legislative body.  He joins a bipartisan group of state legislators from every region of the Commonwealth who have now formed majorities in both chambers.

“Consumers have a right to know what is in their food, especially with so many concerned about food allergies,” stated Senate President Pro Tempore Richard T. Moore. “Labeling foods containing genetically modified ingredients would strengthen consumer protection in a way that is reasonable and not overly burdensome.”

Last month, the Committee on Health Care Financing passed H. 3996 out of their committee, following the passage of the bill from the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in March. The bill is currently pending before the House Committee on Ways & Means. If signed into law, the bill would ensure that all foods sold in Massachusetts that contain genetically engineered ingredients would be clearly labeled.

“This is a reasonable request about a basic right we should have: knowing what is in the food we eat,” said Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst). “The broad support we see across both parties, from our most conservative members, to moderates, to progressives, shows that this bill will not be controversial. This is something we all want to accomplish before the end of session in July.”

“At the end of the day, residents here in Massachusetts deserve transparency around something as fundamental as the food they eat and feed their families,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG. “Whether we want to seek out or avoid GMOs, this bill will allow consumers to make more educated and informed choices about the food they purchase.”

Legislators are adding their support to this important debate, joining the broad and growing list of supporters for GMO labeling, including consumer, food safety, public health, community, and other organizations. According to a poll conducted by the New York Times, 93 percent of Americans support labeling foods containing genetically engineered ingredients.

“On behalf of the 1,200 NOFA/Mass members, and many of the other 7,700 farm families in Massachusetts, I want to thank the legislature for listening to our request to label GMOs in crops and food,” said Jack Kittredge, Policy Director at Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter. “It is heartening to see that a majority of members of both the State House of Representatives and Senate favor GMO labeling. They know that honesty and transparency are the best policies to build trust and to grow successful businesses.”

“It has always been my strong belief that people have the right to know what is in their food,” said Representative Todd Smola (R-Palmer).  “I am extremely pleased to see how much support this important initiative has gained in both the Massachusetts House of Representative and the Senate.”

“This is a matter of transparency, of basic consumer rights,” said Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington).  “Several hundred constituents have been in touch to tell me they feel the same way.  Other New England states have passed GMO labeling laws, and Massachusetts should act next.”

“This bill, in its simplest form, provides residents in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with information on the foods they are consuming,” said Representative Michael J. Moran (D-Boston). “It is important to know what we are feeding our families.”

“This is an important issue to me.  I strongly believe we have the right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our families,” said Representative Stephen L. DiNatale (D-Fitchburg). “This legislation will simply insure that Massachusetts consumers are well informed.”



142 Massachusetts Legislators in support of GMO Labeling Law


Sen. Michael Barrett 

Sen. William Brownsberger*

Sen. Gale Candaras

Sen. Cynthia Creem

Sen. Kenneth Donnelly

Sen. Benjamin Downing

Sen. James B. Eldridge

Sen. Barry Finegold

Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry

Sen. Robert Hedlund

Sen. Don Humason

Sen. Patricia Jehlen

Sen. Brian Joyce

Sen. Jason Lewis*

Sen. Mark Montigny

Sen. Michael Moore

Sen. Richard Moore

Sen. Joan Lovely

Sen. Thomas McGee

Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives

Sen. Karen Spilka

Sen. Bruce Tarr*

Sen. Daniel Wolf

Rep. Denise Andrews*

Rep. James Arciero

Rep. Brian Ashe

Rep. Cory Atkins

Rep. Bruce Ayers

Rep. Ruth Balser

Rep. Jay Barrows

Rep. Carlo Basile

Rep. Matthew Beaton

Rep. Jen Benson

Rep. Nicholas Boldyga

Rep. Paul Brodeur

Rep. Tom Calter

Rep. James Cantwell

Rep. Gailanne Cariddi

Rep. Leah Cole

Rep. Edward Coppinger

Rep. Thomas Conroy

Rep. Claire Cronin

Rep. Daniel Cullinane

Rep. Sean Curran

Rep. Mark Cusack

Rep. Josh Cutler

Rep. Marjorie Decker

Rep. Viriato deMacedo

Rep. Angelo D’Emilia

Rep. Marcos Devers

Rep. Geoff Diehl

Rep. Stephen DiNatale*

Rep. Daniel Donahue

Rep. Paul Donato

Rep. Shawn Dooley

Rep. James Dwyer

Rep. Carolyn Dykema*

Rep. Peter Durant

Rep. Lori Ehrlich

Rep. Christopher Fallon

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier*

Rep. Ryan Fattman

Rep. Kimberly Ferguson

Rep. John Fernandes

Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante

Rep. Michael Finn

Rep. Carole Fiola

Rep. Gloria Fox

Rep. Paul Frost

Rep. Sean Garballey

Rep. Denise Garlick

Rep. Colleen Garry

Rep. Susan Gifford

Rep. Anne Gobi*

Rep. Thomas Golden

Rep. Ken Gordon

Rep. Danielle Gregoire

Rep. Patricia Haddad

Rep. Jonathan Hecht

Rep. Paul Heroux

Rep. Bradford Hill

Rep. Kate Hogan*

Rep. Kevin Honan

Rep. Steven Howitt

Rep. Randy Hunt

Rep. Bradley Jones

Rep. Louis Kafka

Rep. Jay Kaufman

Rep. Kay Khan

Rep. Mary Keefe*

Rep. Peter Kocot*

Rep. Robert Koczera

Rep. Steve Kulik

Rep. Kevin Kuros

Rep. David Linsky

Rep. Jay Livingstone

Rep. Marc Lombardo

Rep. Timothy Madden*

Rep. John Mahoney

Rep. Elizabeth Malia

Rep. Brian Mannal

Rep. Paul Mark*

Rep. Christopher Markey

Rep. Wayne Matewsky

Rep. Paul McMurtry

Rep. Jim Miceli

Rep. Lenny Mirra

Rep. Frank Moran

Rep. Michael Moran*

Rep. David Nangle

Rep. Rhonda Nyman

Rep. Shaunna O’Connell

Rep. James O’Day

Rep. Jerald Parisella

Rep. Sarah Peake

Rep. Alice Peisch

Rep. Thomas Petrolati

Rep. William Pignatelli*

Rep. Elizabeth A. Poirier

Rep. Denise Provost*

Rep. Angelo Puppolo

Rep. Dave Rogers

Rep. John Rogers

Rep. Jeff Roy

Rep. Dennis Rosa

Rep. Byron Rushing

Rep. Daniel Ryan

Rep. Tom Sannicandro*

Rep. John Scibak*

Rep. Alan Silvia

Rep. Frank Smizik*

Rep. Todd Smola*

Rep. Thomas Stanley

Rep. Ellen Story*

Rep. Benjamin Swan

Rep. Tim Toomey

Rep. Cleon Turner

Rep. Aaron Vega

Rep. John Velis

Rep. Chris Walsh

Rep. Donald Wong

Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik


*bill sponsor/cosponsor (H1936, H2037, H2093, H808, H813, redraft bill H3996)