In a 7–2 final vote in the Democratic House committee, a bill that would have required labeling any foods containing genetically modified ingredients was rejected by the state of Colorado last week.
According to the Denver Post, the decision came after “more than five hours of emotional testimony from mothers seeking labels and farmers saying the requirement would hurt them.” In the end, the lawmakers “ultimately sided with farm groups” and agreed that the changes would need to be done on a federal level and not by an individual state.
Democratic Rep. Jeanne Labuda of Denver and the bill’s sponsor, said consumers deserve to know more about how their food is produced. But she also admitted being unsure about whether or not a food label bill would pass on price increases to the consumer. Still, she said it’s worthwhile as food has obviously changed in the years, citing the availability of fresh tomatoes in winter as an example, even though no commercial tomatoes are genetically modified.
Like California’s Proposition 37 measure, which failed in last November’s election, hopes were high for Colorado to pass the measure, particularly since the state just legalized the sale and recreational use of marijuana, making it the first state (along with Washington) to legalize the controversial plant that many believe have powerful medicinal properties.
The Post reports that one member of Colorado’s Congress suggested a national labeling law for genetically engineered foods. Democratic Rep. Jared Polis said, “Consumers need the information.”
More than 60 countries including much of Europe, Canada and Russia have restrictions or labeling requirements for foods that are genetically modified. Research continues to find human health and environmental risks connected with GMO crops.
The FDA is currently considering petitions on the issue and several more states are considering similar bills that could dramatically change the U.S. food system if passed. Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the Bowman v. Monsanto case over the company’s claim to patents on seeds.
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Image: Courtesy of GMOInside