Hartford, CT—Lawmakers in Connecticut overwhelmingly passed a bill on June 3 that would require foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled with the words “Produced with Genetic Engineering.” It became the first state to pass such a law, but there is a multiple part catch. The law will only go into effect if and when any four states not including Connecticut, including at least one bordering Connecticut, and including states in the Northeast region with a combined population of at least 20 million, pass similar GMO labeling laws.
Washington, D.C.—In the case of Bowman v. Monsanto, the Supreme Court has ruled that farmers cannot legally save patented genetically modified seeds for replanting. Monsanto had sued Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman for replanting pesticide-resistant Roundup Ready soybeans, and he now owes $84,456 in damages.
On April 24, the “Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act” was introduced in congress with bipartisan support. If passed, it would require all food products containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as such in the United States. The bill’s main sponsors are Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
Washington, D.C.—Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) has brought back the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, a bill which would help support farmers, increase access to healthy foods for consumers, and provide funding to programs that support local agriculture. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has introduced in the Senate companion legislation to the House of Representatives bill, which was first introduced in 2011 but not enacted.
Washington, D.C.—When President Obama signed the latest budget appropriations bill at the end of March, ensuring that the government would be funded through the end of fiscal year 2013, section 735 of that bill became law. Many sought to stop this 22-line provision, dubbed the “biotech rider” by opponents, on the grounds that it removes judicial authority over the planting of genetically modified (GM) crops.
Austin, TX—Products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as ingredients will require special labeling in all Whole Foods Market stores by 2018, the company announced at Natural Products Expo West. It becomes the first national grocery chain to take such a step.