As political leaders in Albany make decisions about which bills to advance at the end of the legislative sessions, there are five simple reasons to bring the current GMO labeling legislation (A. 617/S.485) to a vote:
Broad, Bipartisan Support: The GMO labeling legislation (A. 617/S.485) is supported by majorities in the Assembly and Senate. Lawmakers deserve a chance to vote on a bill they want to see become law.
Huge Majorities Wants Clear Labeling: Polls show GMO labeling is overwhelmingly popular with the public. In a 2013 New York Times survey, 93 percent support labeling, and about three-quarters of respondents expressed concern about the effect of genetically modified foods. These findings are consistent with other surveys.
Vermont's Law: On July 1, Vermont's GMO labeling law goes into effect, leaving some New Yorkers asking a simple question: Why can't we have the same information about the food we eat as our neighbors? And with some companies announcing that they will label foods to comply with the Vermont law, consumers are bound to be misled. If one box of cereal has a label that says “partially produced with genetic engineering,” a shopper might assume that the box next to it, with no such label, is GMO-free. But that's most likely not the case. The easiest way for lawmakers to counter such marketplace confusion is by passing a labeling law.
GMO Salmon: This issue gained a new sense of urgency late last year after the Food & Drug Administration granted approval for AquAdvantage salmon, the first genetically modified animal for human consumption. The FDA will not require the fish to be labeled.
Transparency: The current legislation provides consumers clear information about the food they're feeding their families. There are a variety of reasons people might want to know whether the food they are buying includes genetically engineered ingredients, and the costs associated with giving them that information is negligible.
"A bipartisan majority of legislators support the right of New Yorkers to know what's in their food," said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director of Food & Water Watch. "Clear labeling is a simple, no-cost way to give consumers vital information about what they're buying in the grocery store. I urge Speaker Heastie to stand up for the public's right to know by bringing GMO labeling legislation to the floor, where it will surely pass."