By Steven Yablonski (Managing Editor), Susan Raff and Joseph Wenzel IV (News Editor)
FAIRFIELD, CT (WFSB) – Connecticut has become a pioneer in food labeling as it is the first state to pass legislation to make companies say if their products contain genetically modified organisms or GMOs.
GMOs are used to help plants be resistant to herbicides and pesticides, but it’s done by taking DNA from a bacteria or a virus, which is inserted into the seed. GMOs are commonly found in corn, soy, canola and sugar.
Gov. Dannel Malloy held a ceremonial bill signing in Fairfield on Wednesday to commemorate a bill that requires certain foods intended for humans to be clearly marked that it is entirely or partially genetically engineered.
“People need to demand GMO labeling,” Malloy said. “Some companies are doing this and we need to move in that direction.”
According to the statement, Connecticut’s law goes into effect after four other states enacted similar legislation.
“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 (Genetically Modified Organisms),” Malloy said in a statement. “The end result is a law that shows our commitment to consumers’ right to know while catalyzing other states to take similar action.”
In addition, a combination of northeastern states with a combined population of at least 20 million, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, must adopt similar laws.
Officials said the bill also includes language that will protect local farmers to ensure regional adoption of the new labeling system before it will require local farms to analyze and label genetically engineered products.
Buying foods that are organic has become popular and in health food stores, it’s not common to find products that are already labeled GMO-free.
Lisa Storch, who owns the Catch A Healthy Habit in Fairfield, said more and more people want to know what’s in the foods they eat.
“It’s little steps at a time,” Storch said. “(We are) trying different avenues as far as healthy eating and what works for you.”