Californians for GE Food Labeling
For Immediate Release: May 8, 2014
Vermont Governor Signs Nation’s First GMO Labeling Bill
California could be next: SB 1381 to be heard May 12, Appropriations Committee
Today, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a law requiring labeling for genetically engineered (GE, genetically modified organism or GMO) foods, affirming that Vermont will be the first in the nation to require greater transparency. Vermont legislators passed the GE labeling bill with overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses. Connecticut and Maine passed GE labeling bills with huge bipartisan support last year; those are dependent on neighboring states passing similar bills.
In California, support from mom’s groups, environmental groups and food safety organizations has propelled Senator Noreen Evan’s GE food labeling bill (SB.1381) through the Senate Health and Judiciary Committees this year. The bill has gained momentum and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 12 before it is taken up on the floor.
"Californians agree — we want the choice about the food we put on our dinner tables. We want a choice about the legacy we leave the Golden State's children," said Debbie Friedman, a co-chair of Moms Advocating Sustainability, one of the coalition groups. "Labeling genetically engineered foods gives us the opportunity to make informed decisions about our food, from farm to fork."
Polls consistently show that over 90% of Americans and a majority of Californians want meaningful labels that clearly identify GE foods. Since Proposition 37 — a 2012 measure that would have labeled GE foods — was narrowly defeated in California, dozens of other states have introduced similar initiatives and bills in state legislatures. Two states, Connecticut and Maine, have already passed GMO labeling bills. In Vermont, a GMO labeling bill just passed through the state's Agricultural Committee, and voters in Oregon will likely vote this fall on a similar initiative.
Business leaders such as Whole Foods and Chipotle have also stepped up in the wake of Proposition 37, committing to label GE foods sold in their stores.
"This is an inevitable wave of change," said Grant Lundberg, a third generation rice farmer, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms and former co-chair of the Proposition 37 initiative campaign. "The effort has come full circle to California. The new straightforward bill is an even simpler, clearer version of Proposition 37. It would simply require food sold in California grocery stores to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients."
Californians for GE Food Labeling is a coalition of organizations, businesses, and networks, including Biosafety Alliance, Californians for Pesticide Reform, California State Grange, CALPIRG, Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, Environmental Working Group, Food Democracy Now!, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth – US, Good Earth Natural Foods, LabelGMOs.org, Moms Advocating Sustainability, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America and Pesticide Watch, dedicated to giving California families informed choices about their food.