Hartford, CT—With a 35–1 vote, the Connecticut Senate reportedly passed a bill that would require foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled. It became the first state Senate to do so, but the bill’s prospects in the Connecticut House of Representatives remained unclear. The bill states that the labeling requirement would not take effect in Connecticut until July 1, 2016, unless three other nearby states passed similar legislation. In that case, it would take effect July 1, 2015.

Some lawmakers in the state are on the record as being wary of the economic impact going it alone on GMO labeling might have. The Vermont House of Representatives also recently passed a GMO labeling bill, and many other states have legislation under consideration. An additional concern is that GMO crop-leader Monsanto could choose to embroil states in legal woes over the labeling issue. Connecticut House Speaker Brendan Sharkey was to take a vote count to gauge the backing for the bill in his chamber, the Hartford Courant reported.

The bill makes exemptions to the labeling requirement that are similar to those of other GMO labeling bills. For instance, alcoholic beverages, restaurant food and food sold at farmers markets are examples of foods that would be exempt. The states Department of Consumer Protection is tasked with enforcement, and the bill states knowing violators would be subject to a daily fine of up to $1,000 per product. Food found to contain GMOs and therefore deemed misbranded under the law could also be seized or have an embargo placed on it. If the law were passed, those responsible for misbranding foods could be subject to criminal penalties.

Published by WholeFoods Magazine Online, May 23, 2013