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Boston, MA – Today, the statewide coalition of advocates in support of labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) announced that it will redouble its efforts to pass GMO labeling legislation in the next session.
“We got closer this year than we have before,” said Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst). “I am looking forward to success next session!”
Over the last year, GMO labeling has garnered unprecedented support. While GMO labeling bills have been filed since 2007, this year, for the first time, the bill was passed out of its original committee. Since the coalition started organizing in April of 2013, there has been a 630-percent increase in legislative support (from 20 legislators when the bills were filed 2013 to 146 currently). Today, a significant majority in both the House and Senate support GMO labeling.
“Unfortunately, it was the chemical companies and junk food industry that lobbied to keep consumers in the dark, a classic corporate interest vs public interest battle,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG. “But with momentum, overwhelming support, and common sense on our side it won’t be long before the public interest beats out Monsanto’s interest. I know our coalition will continue to fight for GMO labeling, allowing consumers – not certain companies – the right to know and chose what they are eating.”
“The GMO labeling initiative has a strong coalition of support in both the legislature and across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). “I will continue to be a strong voice in support of GMO labeling and will do everything in my power to get GMO labeling legislation passed in Massachusetts.”
"I am disappointed that this bill, which enjoys the support of a majority of senators and representatives and many of our constituents, was unable to make it to final passage,” said Senator Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge). “The bill simply lets consumers know if their food has been genetically modified and they can then decide on their purchase as better-informed customers. I don't understand why anyone would want hide this information. If I am re-elected, I will keep pushing for this common sense legislation."
Awareness of GMO labeling has taken off across Massachusetts, as more than 300 organizations and local businesses, including 150 local farms, joined the coalition’s network, generating nearly 40,000 petition signatures and comments to elected officials in support of this commonsense legislation.
“It’s disappointing that, despite overwhelming public support and a majority of supportive legislators in both the House and Senate, GMO labeling did not come up for a vote this session,” said Martin Dagoberto, campaign coordinator for MA Right to Know GMOs. “We are undeterred in our commitment to get GMO labeling legislation passed. People want to know what’s in the food they eat and we won’t stop fighting until a label is on the side of every food item containing genetically engineered ingredients.”
“Over the last year, GMO labeling has become a major kitchen table issue,” said Pat Fiero, former state representative and current New England organizer for MoveOn.org. “We’ve heard from tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents who support GMO labeling and the more people we talk with, the more support we get. We will continue to spread the word until GMO labeling legislation is passed in Massachusetts.”
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