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SACRAMENTO, CA — A bill that would require the labeling of all foods sold in California containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) advanced out of another policy committee today despite heavy opposition from big agribusinesses and biotech lobby groups. California is one of more than 20 states across the country considering either legislation or ballot initiatives that would require GMO labeling.
“Consumers have real concerns about the impact of GMOs,” said Austin Price, field director with CALPIRG. “From coast to coast, consumers are demanding the right to know how their food is produced.”
The vote comes just one week after legislators in Vermont passed a GMO labeling bill out of both houses with bipartisan support. Both Connecticut and Maine have also passed labeling laws, but with a “trigger clause” which requires action from at least four neighboring states before taking effect. At least three states — Colorado, Oregon and Arizona — are all considering ballot initiatives to require GMO labeling.
In 2012, California voters narrowly rejected Proposition 37, a ballot initiative to label GMO foods, after an opposition campaign led by Monsanto, DuPont and the Grocery Manufacturers Association spent more than $46 million to defeat the measure. Hoping to avoid more costly fights at the ballot box and in state houses across the country, labeling opponents have recently sponsored a bill in Congress that would preempt states from passing their own GMO labeling laws.
“Industry has shown that they are willing to spend tens of millions to keep consumers in the dark.” said Price. “But in states like Vermont, Connecticut and Maine, legislators couldn’t ignore the overwhelming public support for GMO labeling.”
The proposed legislation (SB 1381), authored by state Sen. Noreen Evens, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson, Mark Leno, Ellen Corbett, Ricardo Lara, William Monning voting in support, and Senators Joel Anderson and Andy Vidak voting against the bill.
Last month, SB 1381 passed out of the Senate Health Committee by a 5-2 vote.
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