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Boston, MA Today, a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law announced that a strong majority of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have signed on as co-sponsors of GMO food labeling legislation. In total, 154 out of 200 Massachusetts legislators including 125 from the House of Representatives and 29 from the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors to the GMO labeling bill.
Foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients are commonly known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The bill, currently known as House Docket 369 - An Act establishing the genetic engineering transparency food and seed labeling act –would ensure that all foods sold in Massachusetts that contain genetically engineered ingredients be clearly labeled. Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have already passed GMO labeling laws.
“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 of 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.”
“Over the last two years, we have increased the number of co-sponsors on GMO labeling legislation more than sevenfold,” said Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst). “This issue resonates with everyone because it is a reasonable request about a basic right we all should have: tell us what is in our food. I truly believe that this will be our year to pass this bill.”
“We are extremely lucky to have so many incredible legislators supporting this effort here in Massachusetts,” said Martin Dagoberto, of MA Right to Know GMOs. “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.”
“People have the right to know and understand the products that are contained within our food in order to make informed and healthy decisions to meet their dietary needs,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).
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.
"Farmers are getting more and more questions about GMOs -- people are really upset about not knowing if they are in their food. We are grateful that so many legislators see the importance of clearly labeling them. That will help our businesses, our customers, and the local farm economy." -- Jack Kittredge, certified organic farmer and policy director, NOFA/Mass (Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.) NOFA/Mass has 1200 members in the Commonwealth and in one of 7 state NOFA chapters in the northeast.
"Support for GMO labeling legislation is growing by the day," said Representative Todd Smola (R-Palmer). "Massachusetts can be a leading state on GMO labeling if we are willing to take a step in the right direction. This legislation is about promoting public health, but it is also about transparency."
“Constituents from every community I represent have reached out to me and expressed their support for having GMO products clearly labeled,” said Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “I’m happy to join this growing effort designed to increase the amount of information provided to Massachusetts consumers.”
“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 ensure that Massachusetts consumers are well informed.”
The overwhelming number of co-sponsors is due in part to hard work and commitment from the GMO legislative leadership team from both the House and Senate. The team includes Representatives Story (Amherst), Smola (Palmer), M.Moran (Boston), Rushing (Boston), Peake (Provincetown), DiNatale (Fitchburg), Dykema (Holliston), Farley-Bouvier (Pittsfield), Madden (Nantucket), Mannal (Barnstable), Decker (Cambridge), Kocot (Northampton), Keefe (Worcester), Cariddi (North Adams), Boldyga (Southwick), Fox (Boston) and Senators Lovely (Salem), Tarr (Gloucester), Wolf (Harwich), Eldridge (Acton), O’Connor Ives (Newburyport).
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