Malloy, legislation backers gather to celebrate genetically modified organisms labeling

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy held a bill-signing ceremony at Catch a Healthy Habit Café in Fairfield Wednesday for a bill he formally signed in June that requires foods with genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such. The bill's advocates requested the ceremony.

The law will go into effect only after four other states enact similar legislation and any combination of northeastern states with a combined population of 20 million enact similar legislation.

Manufacturers had been concerned that if Connecticut acted alone, a new labeling system for Connecticut would have been too costly.

State Republicans and Democrats rallied for passage of the bill during the last legislative session. The bill passed with a majority in both the Senate and the House.

"I am proud that leaders from each of the legislative caucuses can come together to make our state the first in the nation to require the labeling of GMOs," Malloy said in a press release Wednesday. "The end result is a law that shows our commitment to consumers' right to know while catalyzing other states to take similar action."

Senate President Donald E. Williams, D-Brooklyn, in the release thanked grass-roots advocates who helped the state move closer to having food transparency.

More than 60 countries have adopted mandatory labeling laws.

The bill also aims to protect Connecticut farmers by ensuring regional adoption of the new labeling system before requiring local farms to label GMO products.

"This law does not ban anything. It requires the labeling of food products that have been modified with genetic engineering and do not occur naturally," Malloy said.

j.somers@theday.com

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