Statewide GMO Labeling Initiatives Still Going Strong
After the pledge to avoid products containing GMOs was denied when California’s Proposition 37 failed to pass during the election last November, it has had little affect on the anti-GMO movement. And with talks of the FDA approving genetically engineered salmon on its way, Americans are increasingly in favor of more food labeling with an overwhelming percent of Democrats, Independants and Republicans in favor, according to the National Survey of Healthcare Consumers: Genetically Engineered Food published on Just Label It!.
For more than 10 years, processed foods in the U.S. are made from genetically modified crops manipulated in laboratories. A movement to eliminate such ingredients in food has brought about awareness and posed questions regarding the negetive effects of biotechnology on human health and the environment. While some scientists say GMO doesn’t pose a threat to either, many state-initiatives bills and campaigns continue to try and reach legislation in an effort to mandate labeling at the federal level.
Washington and New Mexico are just two of the 30 states that are gaining ground on their current initiative to mandate labeling. But, with most of the remaining states also behind the movement through proposed bills and campaigns, the anti-GMO movement is far from over.
Arizona—GMO-Free Phoenix is a food activist group working to educate consumers on safe ingredients and increase the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network to see that the genetically modified foods and brands are put out of business.
California— While the majority voted against Prop. 37 in recent elections, the Right to Know campaign continues to support Prop 37 through events and the education of people on their right to know what’s in their food.
Colorado—GMO Free Colorado is a grassroots effort to protect residents and pass a statewide ballot requiring GMO labeling of foods.
Connecticut—The Northeast Organic Farming Association, Conn. Chapter is a non-profit organization working toward strengthening sustainable farming and providing consumers with healthy food. While the bill, HB 5117 was recently removed from legislation before Prop. 37 went on the ballot, the organization is commitment to pass legislation in favor of GMO labeling through events and word of mouth.
Florida—Label GMO Florida is a grassroots initiative to bring to ballot the requirement of GMO labeled food. By 2014 the organization is determined to vote on the initiative.
Hawaii—Label It Hawaii is working to promote and pass the proposed bill HB2034/SB2443 in order to give residents the right to know what’s in its food. A series of proposed bills have made it to the Senate thanks to a group of supportive anti-GMO senators.
Idaho—Part of the GMO Free campaign, Idaho is working as a state to raising awareness and promoting local, organic and GMO-free foods.
Massachusetts—Also part of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Mass. Chapter, the non-profit organization supports organic farming and brings awareness to what's in food and where it is coming from. The state has proposed a bill, H3276, to label food, but has yet to gain legislation
Michigan—No GMO for Michigan is a grassroots attempt to educate residents about the food they eat and the direct effect it has on their overall health. Through planned events and protests in an attempt to urge Congress to take action, the organization strives to provide residents the option to eat healthy.
Minnesota—Right to Know Minnesota is working to gather supports of GMO labeling to pass through legislation through their proposed bill, S.F. 2563. The coalition is speaking out in favor for people's right to know what is in their food.
New Jersey—A propsed bill, HB 1367, through the efforts of Label GMOs in New Jersey was made possible through Girl Scout Troop 86 and introduced to the Senate where it will be heard by several committees. Their efforts are being used to gain a choice in what people eat.
North Carolina—The state-propsed bill, HB 446, is part of the overall GMO movement to pass the labeling into law.
Ohio—Also part of the GMO Free campaign, the state is working to bring awareness to residents about what they are eating and where it is coming from.
Oregon—A statewide effort to pass legislation through proposed bills, SB 517 & HB 3346, GMO Free Oregon and Right to Know campaigns are initiatives to bring awareness to the people.
Rhode Island—Proposed bill HB 7494 was introduced in the Senate and was referred to the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee. The committee asked the bill be reviewed further, which Rhode Island is asking residents to make their voices heard by raising awareness and continuing to support the initiative until it is passed into law.
Utah—Millions Against Monsanto under the Utah Chapter is a non-profit organization that is challenging Monsanto for the harm caused by GMO and trying to stop the use of GMOs.
Vermont—A proposed bill, HB 722, was introduced to the Senate in 2012 and referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, which held a hearing on the bill. This legislative session was a big gain in the GMO labeling initiative and will continue to be part of political conversation in upcoming elections.
Virginia—Also propsed a bill, HB 606, in the Senate to pass GMO labeling was initiated by Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, but has yet to be heard by a committee.
Washington—Label it Washington is working to pass the People's Right to know Genetically Engineered Food Act, I-522, to the Title 70 RCW. The campaign received over 350,000 signatures and the initiative was submitted to the Secetary of State in January.
Besides the grassroots campaigns throughout the states, more than 600 companies have formed a partnership with the Just Label It! Campaign to protect consumers’ right to know what’s in their food and petition against the FDA. These brands support the movement and believe the practice is their responsibility, political or not.
Residents are also urged to call their state representative and make their voices heard by bringing to their attention the hazards of GMOs and the people's right to know.
While more than a million signatures have been collected over the past months and proposed bills at the state legislature level continue to move forward, many said the denial of Prop 37 actually increased the movement with national efforts at an all-time high.