This past week, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy officially signed the first GMO labeling bill of its kind in the United States into law, in a move that was certainly welcome following the disappointing labeling vote results in California and Washington over the past two years.
Voters passed the GMO labeling measure back in June, which was followed by a similar passage in Maine.
While it’s exciting to see such a vital issue in the spotlight and to see such incredible support from a high-profile figure like Malloy (“This is the time,” he said to the Citizen publication; “You better get ready; people are coming and this is not a movement you are going to stop”), many people don’t realize that this law still is contingent on the support of other neighboring states before it can take effect.
According to reports like this one from RT, at least four other Northeastern states with a total population of no fewer than 20 million people need to follow suit for the law to take effect.
Maine is already on board, however there is still much work to do in order to get fellow states like New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York to follow.
More than 60 countries around the world already have mandatory labeling laws for GMOs, and many of them also have cultivation or import bans.
But in the U.S. where the almighty dollar reigns supreme and consumers continue to unwillingly support pro-GMO companies every time they head to the grocery store or go out to eat, creating real change is more of a challenge.
The fact that GMOs were introduced stealthily into our food supply, and that Big Biotech money is everywhere, makes for an even bigger challenge.
We’ve also seen that as soon as Big Food and the Biotech industry feels threatened, like they did in California and Washington, the money comes flooding in to mislead consumers. We have to stay one step ahead of them by getting the word out about GMOs now to all of the northeastern states in particular so that their ads will be less effective when the time comes for votes in these other states.
Every victory is important, including the Connecticut one, but the next phase will be the most challenging, which is why we shouldn’t fully celebrate just yet.
Connecticut’s GMO Labeling Still a Ways Off
Considering that there’s so much more work to be done to make labeling a reality in the northeast, those of us in the movement should be strategizing and working together rather than celebrating.
Unfortunately, the headlines posted on social media sites about the GMO labeling law in Connecticut have been too abstract and many people don’t seem to realize how much work there is to go for labeling to become a reality.
“Connecticut becomes first state to require labeling of GMOs” was one that came across my newsfeed and was posted in several GMO-Free groups.
The headline suggests that the plan is already in motion and that GMOs will be labeled soon in Connecticut without further action. However, as noted above, the next phase is more important.
Keep Moving Forward for GMO Labeling
We all know that GMO labeling is the absolute minimum considering how harmful GMOs are to health and the environment, but it’s also an important first step for raising awareness and giving more consumers the information they need to opt out.
That being said, it’s time to move forward from Connecticut and start raising awareness in the other northeastern states.
New Jersey is one of the more advanced of the other states in terms of signing its own bill to support Maine and Connecticut’s.
You can check out the GMO Free New Jersey Facebook page and lend your support by clicking here.
As for Connecticut, while it is certainly worth noting and cracking a smile knowing that their bill has passed, we must realize that there will be little change on the ground until we all pull together and start doing more to raise awareness and support these organizations with our dollars.
We can fully celebrate when we’ve won, but for now, let’s keep pushing, and keeping informing people so that they’re not misled about just how far we still have to go.
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