GMO and nonGMO Food Labeling Laws

June 23rd, 2018 FEDERAL FOOD LABELING ACTION ALERT: USDA pushing flawed new GMO food labeling disclosure rule July 3rd Deadline for Public  – ACT Now  Federal GMO food-labeling is back in the news again, with more than an extra dollop of special interest meddling.  You can let the government know your thoughts before public comment closes on this key USDA food rule (AMS-TM-17-0050-0004) on July 3rd.

12/28/16 Russia proposes clear GMO labeling for consumers in Eurasian region.  “The Russian Government has stood strong in the face of increasing pressure from U.S. biotech companies and they have also managed to see through the Russian pro-GMO forces’ misleading claims and pseudoscience. In December 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Russian Parliament that Russia should become the world’s largest supplier of organic foods.”

11/17/16 Update: This page was initially structured to follow northeastern state labeling news, but the passage of the federal labeling “DARK Act” has brought a new focus —to report refinements and developments on the flawed and changing federal law, which pre-empted existing state GMO food labeling in July 2016 as described in posts below.  On July 29, 2016,  President Barack Obama signed a bill amending the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods, creating more confusion for consumers and producers in the marketplace with this “Dark Act”.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) blog updates us ” With Food Labeling Claims, The Devil’s in the Details”, and nonGMO label claims have been the initial focus of labeling law implementation.  Issued in response to the enactment of the mandatory GMO labeling law signed into law earlier this summer by President Obama, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)guidelines for farmers, ranchers, and other producers interested in making “non-GMO” labeling claims went into effect immediately after their announcement. FSIS also provided a 60 day window for the public to comment on their compliance guidelines. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) comments can be found here.  Instead of aligning the guidelines to consumer expectations, which would require that meat or eggs labeled “non-GMO” not contain any bioengineered ingredients and not be derived from livestock fed bioengineered feed; FSIS has said that “either/or” is fine. What this means in practice, is that FSIS could approve a non-GMO labeling claim for products containing meat or eggs derived from animals raised on GMO feed. Thanks to the use of “or” this is possible, because technically the eggs or meat are not themselves bioengineered, and therefore would not be considered “bioengineered ingredients”.  Not only is this kind of misleading labeling unacceptable for consumers, it also undermines and disadvantages those producers that have built their businesses and markets based on consumers’ faith in the “non-GMO” label.

July 29, 2016 Update:  FEDERAL LABELING AMBUSH BY SENATOR ROBERTS US AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE!  You know things are bad when even the FDA, which so often fails the public when it comes to food safety, sides with consumers.Yesterday, the FDA pointed out what DARK Act opponents have been saying all along—the Roberts-Stabenow GMO “non-labeling” bill would exclude a host of products from ever having to be labeled, including some of the most common GMO ingredients, like soybean oil and GMO sugar beets.According to the FDA, the bill also sets a very high bar for even the bill’s “make believe” labels (QR codes and toll-free phone numbers), because it would apply only to those GMO crops “for which the modification could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature.”Yet the FDA’s critique has done nothing to slow down the anti-labeling train.

Massachusetts Labeling Bill has very favorable traction inside and outside the State House.  The GMO labeling bill has a new number (H4156) but your Mass. representatives need to hear that a Trigger Clause is unnecessary before it’s too late. The session ends July 31st, so the time to act is now because  your voices need to be heard by the legislators and the governor in order to get GMO labeling done!  You may also directly ask your legislator to bring H4156 up for a vote here

The National Academy of Sciences’ crop and food study (5/16 prepublication release) was a mixed bag on GMO safety with some useful data in the report, but their statement of finding no risks of health impacts  related to the current pesticide-dependent GMO crop system (accompanied by high toxic residues  in food [and drinks] we consume) doesn’t address the combined pesticide/GMO process health safety question. The study recognized “the inherent difficulty of detecting subtle or long term effects in health or the environment” but appeared to look favorably on peoples’ right to have state labeling for other reasons). While the NAS findings are indicative of the pervasiveness of industry influences in government, $cience, and other institutions, they did take regulatory agencies to task for not demanding data transparency for the public. For more analysis and details, click here.

New York ACTION NEEDED!Contact your senator and Assembly member to get the GMO Label Law passed this year!  The time is now to ask them  to support S.485B/A.617B, which would require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms.

Consumers Union Sr. Scientist speaks out for MA GMO Labeling  For latest MA updates click here and here for news. H3242 has received widespread bi-partisan support during the current legislative session. 

Which large food companies have announced GMO labeling plans and why?  Is there something beyond 7/1/16 enactment of VT labeling law?

Time to contact your 2 CT legislators (if you haven’t already)  to support HB 5300 to enact CT GMO Labeling!  If your state Rep. and Senator haven’t said they’d sponsor 5300. (5/10/16 note: Due to CT fiscal ’17 issues, the enactment legislation has not been completed this year.)

Judge just ruled Grocery Manufacturers Assn. illegally  conducted massive money laundering to defeat Washington State GMO Labeling Which companies worked against consumers Right to KNOW GMO?

Latest on GMO Bill A.617-b/S.485-b in New York State

For an excellent audio about GMO labeling efforts in Maine click here, and for Pennsylvania update, click here

For informative testimony from CT GMO Food Labeling Bill HB 5300, click HERE

For CT testimony about  profound reasons to avoid GMO from Beth Beisel, RD click HERE

For the latest on GMO labeling in the US:

Take Action to Prevent GMO Ingredients in “Natural”Label

MASS GE Food Labeling Bill H.3242 has Strong Momentum into 2016 with 155 Co-sponsors of GMO Labeling! Speak up to get rid of the “Trigger Clause” just inserted into the MA labeling bill and support labeling with 4 words: “Produced with Genetic Engineering” like Europe


Grocery Manufacturer’s “Goliath versus David” Vermont Lawsuit Progressing

New York Legislators Pushing for GMO Labeling Against Special Interest $ and May Deadline

Rhode Island  Labeling Bill Moves Forward  But, when will the special interest money appear  to try to change the tide?

Maine Legislators Move to Speed Up Labeling Bill Enactment

Earlier in March, legislators proposed a new law that would remove the trigger requirement that relies on other border (NY & MA)  states’  legislative approvals to enact their labeling bill. Click here for story

Northeast States Continue Progress Towards GMO Labeling

Martin Dagoberto, of MA Right to Know GMOs. “The level of support from both the House and Senate, as well as from residents from across the state, speaks to the momentum behind passing a GMO labeling bill this session, and RI is continuing with 2 labeling bills, too.

Don’t believe the Special Interest Industry Lies and Deceptions on Labeling!

An analysis by Consumers Union found that the median cost to consumers of GMO labeling would be $2.30 per person a year.  And companies introduce new labeling regularly anyway….




CT Legislative Session opens – Bills to call your legislators about NOW!

1) House Bill 6798 to support a bill to label GMOs found in baby food and baby formula. Call your legislator now or email written comments to before the Feb. 24,2015 hearing.

2)HB 6041 is a bill cosponsored by Reps Stemberg, Haddad, and Hampton to limit the sale and distribution of unlabeled GMO grass seeds.   A similar bill had been introduced last year with sizeable bipartisan support, but in the end, it seems politics got in the way of making it to the Governor’s desk. This new bill in 2015 needs your support now. Scotts has grass seed ready to roll soon(unlabeled due to a loophole in USDA regulations!) which could result in consumers not being able to know about where such unlabeled seed and chemical contaminations could occur in your neighborhood. In rural areas, pollen contamination of organic and other crops as well as threats to the integrity of the local GMO free grass-fed beef farm operations will likely occur, and CT residents will have no way to know about it.  Further if you have a lawn service which starts to use the unlabeled GMO grass seed along with accompanying toxic chemicals, your well water in your lawn area could be at risk of contamination as well. And you could have no way of knowing.  To find and contact your legislator you may visit   Click on Take Action.  


New polls  and consumer purchase trends at supermarkets and from food manufacturers, show continually higher consumer demand for Genetically Engineered Food Labeling.    Companies who understand and want to satisfy customer demands are responding!

Besides, who wants to eat a topping of weedkiller on their food?  EPA has been regularly upping the chemical residues allowed on food crops in response to agribiotech company needs to allow the Genetically Engineered Crop System to remain viable due to increasing weed resistance to such chemicals.  So,  consumers get a double whammy: GMO, plus toxic weedkiller tainted food crops!


More $pending to Stop GMO Labeling by Dupont Pioneer, Monsanto and others . Why are they so worried to deny consumers labeling information?  Why are large chemical and food companies joining the anti-labeling spending spree in OR and CO?

CT NOFA: Vermont Food Fight   An Update on VT GMO Labeling and More!

VT Labeling Law Defense Fund Set – You Can Help!

NY Labeling Opinion:

MA : Majority of Legislators Support GMO Labeling Bill H 3996 –  GMO Labeling Bill Advances     For further updates:

Nat’l Trade Group to Sue VT over Enacted GMO Labeling Law!

VT Passes GMO Labeling !

Latest on Northeastern State Labeling Laws:

VT GE Labeling Without Trigger Moves Forward

CT Proposed Amendment to Ban GMO Bluegrass:  CT Senate Advances Bill ,  CT House does opposite

NY Genetically Modified Food Labeling Bill SO 3835:

February 2014 update on Northeastern area labeling laws:

NJ GMO Food Labeling:

RI Legislation:

MAINE,  2nd State in US to Pass Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Law! 

NH HB 660:


***CONNECTICUT PASSES 1st in Nation Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Law



The CT Legislature’s  Public Health Committee voted in favor of HB 6519, An Act Concerning the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods, with a vote of 23 – 4.  The strong vote in favor of HB 6519 in the Public Health Committee shows that the legislature of Connecticut supports a consumer’s right to know what is in the food they eat, and be able to make smart choices in the best interests of their families.

For Consumer’s Union Dr. Michael Hansen’s Significant 3/15/13 Public Hearing Testimony

State of Connecticut : General Assembly

Key Points in Raised Bill No. 6519  January Session, 2013  Referred to Committee on PUBLIC HEALTH


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 21a-92 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

For the purposes of this chapter, [and] section 21a-65 and sections 2 and 3 of this act, the following terms shall have the meanings hereinafter specified:

(1) “Advertisement” means all representations disseminated in any manner or by any means, other than by labeling, for the purpose of inducing, or which are likely to induce, directly or indirectly, the purchase of food, drugs, devices or cosmetics;

(3) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Consumer Protection

(8) “Drug” means (A) articles recognized in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States or official National Formulary, or any supplement to any of them; (B) articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in man or other animals; (C) articles, other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or any other animal; and (D) articles intended for use as a component of any articles specified i

(10) “Food” means (A) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, and (B) chewing gum, and (C) articles used for components of any such article;

(11) “Food additive” means any substance the intended use of which results or reasonably may be expected to result, directly or indirectly, in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food, including any substance intended for use in producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting or holding food; and including any source of radiation intended for any such use, if such substance is not generally recognized, among experts qualified by scientific training and experience to evaluate its safety, as having been adequately shown through scientific procedures or, in the case of a substance used in food prior to January 1, 1958, through either scientific procedures or experience based on common use in food, to be safe under the conditions of its intended use; except that such term does not include (A) a pesticide chemical in or on a raw agricultural commodity; or (B) a pesticide chemical to the extent that it is intended for use or is used in the production, storage or transportation of any raw agricultural commodity; or (C) a color additive; or (D) any substance used in accordance with a sanction or approval granted prior to June 12, 1963, or the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 USC 451 et seq.) or the Meat Inspection Act of March 4, 1907, as amended;

(13) “Intrastate commerce” means any and all commerce within the state of Connecticut and subject to its jurisdiction, and shall include the operation of any business or service establishment;

(14) “Label” means a display of written, printed or graphic matter upon the immediate container of any article, provided a requirement made by or under authority of this chapter that any information or other word or statement appear on the label shall not be considered to be complied with unless such information or other word or statement also appears on the outside container or wrapper, if any, of the retail package of such article, or is easily legible through the outside container or wrapper;

(15) “Labeling” means all labels and other written, printed or graphic matter (A) upon any article or any of its containers or wrappers, or (B) accompanying such article; provided, if an article is alleged to be misbranded because the labeling is misleading, or if an advertisement is alleged to be false because it is misleading, then, in determining whether the labeling or advertisement is misleading, there shall be taken into account, among other things, not only representations made or suggested by statement, word, design, device or sound, or any combination thereof, but also the extent to which the labeling or advertisement fails to reveal facts material in the light of such representations or material with respect to consequences which may result from the use of the article to which the labeling or advertisement relates under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling or advertisement thereof or under such conditions of use as are customary or usual, and provided the representation of a drug, in its labeling or advertisement, as an antiseptic shall be considered to be a representation that it is a germicide, except in the case of a drug purporting to be, or represented as, an antiseptic for inhibitory use as a wet dressing, ointment or dusting powder or for such other use as involves prolonged contact with the body;

(16) “Natural food” means food (A) which has not been treated with preservatives, antibiotics, synthetic additives, artificial flavoring or artificial coloring; [and] (B) which has not been processed in a manner that makes such food significantly less nutritive; and (C) which has not been genetically engineered, as defined in section 2 of this act. Processing of food by extracting, purifying, heating, fermenting, concentrating, dehydrating, cooling or freezing shall not, of itself, prevent the designation of such food as “natural food”;

(17) “New drug” means (A) any drug the composition of which is such that such drug is not generally recognized, among experts qualified by scientific training and experience to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of drugs, as safe and effective for use under the conditions prescribed, recommended or suggested in its labeling or (B) any drug the composition of which is such that such drug, as a result of investigation to determine its safety and effectiveness for use under such conditions, has become so recognized, but which has not, otherwise than in such investigations, been used to a material extent or for a material time under such conditions, except that the provisions of this subsection pertaining to “effectiveness” shall not apply to any drug which (i) was commercially sold or used in the United States on October 9, 1962, (ii) was not a new drug as defined by this subsection prior to the enactment of these provisions, and (iii) was not covered by an effective application under section 21a-110 or under Section 355 of the federal act, when such drug is intended solely for use under conditions prescribed, recommended, or suggested in labeling with respect to such drug on whichever of the above dates is applicable;

(18) “Official compendium” means the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, official National Formulary, or any supplement to any of them;

(19) “Organically grown” means produced through organic farming methods, which involve a system of ecological soil management and mechanical or biological methods to control insects, weeds, pathogens and other pests and which rely on crop rotation, crop residues, composted animal manures, legumes, green manures, composted organic waste or mineral-bearing rocks and not genetically engineered, as defined in section 2 of this act;

(20) “Person” includes any individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or association;

(21) “Pesticide chemical” means any substance which, alone, in chemical combination or in formulation with one or more other substances is an “economic poison” within the meaning of the federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, 7 USC 135-135k, and which is used in the production, storage or transportation of raw agricultural commodities;

(22) “Raw agricultural commodity” means any food in its raw or natural state, including all fruits that are washed, colored or otherwise treated in their unpeeled natural form prior to marketing;

(23) The term “safe” has reference to the health of man or animal;

(24) “Sale” means any and every sale and includes (A) manufacture, processing, packing, canning, bottling or any other production, preparation or putting up; (B) exposure, offer or any other proffer; (C) holding, storing or any other possessing; (D) dispensing, giving, delivering, serving or any other supplying; and (E) applying, administering or any other using.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2013) For purposes of this section and section 3 of this act:

(1) “Cultivated commercially” means grown or raised by a person in the course of his or her business or trade and sold within the state;

(2) “Enzyme” means a protein that catalyzes chemical reactions of other substances without being destroyed or altered upon completion of such reactions;

(3) “Genetically engineered” or “genetic engineering” means a process whereby any food intended for human consumption (A) is produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetics are materially altered through the application of: (i) In vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) techniques, the direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, encapsulation, gene deletion and doubling, or (ii) methods of fusing cells that do not fall within the same taxonomic family, that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombinant barriers and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection such as conjugation, transduction and hybridization; (B) is treated with a material described in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, except manure that is used as a fertilizer for a raw agricultural commodity; or (C) contains an ingredient, component or substance described in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision.

(4) “Organism” means any biological entity capable of replication, reproduction or transferring genetic material;

(5) “Processed food” means any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any food produced from a raw agricultural commodity that has been processed through canning, smoking, pressing, cooking, freezing, dehydration, fermentation or milling;

(6) “Processing aid” means: (A) Any substance that is added to a food during the processing of such food but that is removed in some manner from the food before the food is packaged in a finished form; (B) any substance that is added to a food during processing, that is converted into constituents normally present in the food, and that does not significantly increase the amount of the constituents naturally found in the food; or (C) any substance that is added to a food for its technical or functional effect in the processing but that is present in the finished food at insignificant levels and that does not have any technical or functional effect in the finished food;

(7) “Raw agricultural commodity” means any food in its raw or natural state, including a fruit that is washed, colored or treated in its unpeeled, natural form; Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2013) (a) On and after October 1, 2014, any food, seed or seed stock offered or intended for retail sale in this state that is, or may have been, entirely or partially genetically engineered, except a processed food in which one or more processing aids or enzymes were produced or derived from genetic engineering, shall be labeled as follows: (1) In the case of food for retail sale contained in a package, by the manufacturer, distributor or retailer of the food, with the clear and conspicuous words: “Produced with Genetic Engineering”; (2) in the case of food that is a raw agricultural commodity, on the package offered for retail sale or, in the case of any such commodity that is not separately packaged or labeled, on the retail store shelf or bin that holds such commodity displayed for sale, by the retailer, with the clear and conspicuous words: “Produced with Genetic Engineering”; and (3) in the case of any seed or seed stock, on the container holding the seed or seed stock displayed for sale, the sales receipt, or any label identifying ownership or possession of the commodity, by the manufacturer or distributor, with the clear and conspicuous words: “Produced with Genetic Engineering”.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 418 of the general statutes, the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, in consultation with the Commissioners of Agriculture, Energy and Environmental Protection and Public Health, may adopt regulations, pursuant to chapter 54 of the general statutes, to implement and enforce the provisions of this section.

Sec. 4. Section 21a-102 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

A food shall be deemed to be misbranded: [(a)] (1) If its labeling is false or misleading in any particular. A statement on the label or labeling either directly or indirectly implying that the product is recommended or endorsed by any agency of the federal or state government shall be considered misleading, unless the agency concerned has approved the statement prior to its use; [(b)] (2) if it is offered for sale under the name of another food; [(c)] (3) if it is an imitation of another food, unless its label bears, in type of uniform size and prominence, the word “imitation” and, immediately thereafter, the name of the food imitated; [(d)] (4) if its container is so made, formed or filled as to be misleading; [(e)] (5) if in package form, unless it bears a label containing [(1)] (A) the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor; and [(2)] (B) an accurate statement of the quantity of the contents in terms of weight, measure or numerical count; provided, under [subdivision (2) of this subsection] subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, reasonable variations shall be permitted, and exemptions as to small packages shall be established by regulations promulgated by the commissioner and director, acting jointly; [(f)] (6) if any information or other word or statement, required by or under authority of this chapter to appear on the label or labeling, is not prominently placed thereon with such conspicuousness, as compared with other words, statements, designs or devices, in the labeling, and in such terms, as to render it likely to be read and understood by the ordinary individual under customary conditions of purchase and use; [(g)] (7) if it purports to be or simulates or is represented as a food for which a definition and standard of identity has been prescribed by regulations as provided by section 21a-100, unless [(1)] (A) it conforms to such definition and standard, and [(2)] (B) its label bears the name of the food specified in the definition and standard, and, so far as may be required by such regulations, the common names of optional ingredients, other than spices, flavoring and coloring, present in such food; [(h)] (8) if it purports to be or is represented as [(1)] (A) a food for which a standard of quality has been prescribed by regulations as provided by section 21a-100 and its quality falls below such standard, unless its label bears, in such manner and form as such regulations specify, a statement that it falls below such standard; [or (2)] (B) a food for which a standard or standards of fill of container have been prescribed by regulations as provided by section 21a-100, and it falls below the standard of fill of container applicable thereto, unless its label bears, in such manner and form as such regulations specify, a statement that it falls below such standard; [(3)] or (C) a food for which no definition and standard of identity and no standard of quality has been prescribed by regulations as provided by section 21a-100, and it falls below the standard of purity, quality or strength which it purports or is represented to possess; [(i)] (9) if it is not subject to the provisions of [subsection (g)] subdivision (7) of this section, unless its label bears [(1)] (A) the common or usual name of the food, if any, and [(2)] (B) if it is fabricated from two or more ingredients, the common or usual name of each such ingredient; except that spices, flavorings and colorings, other than those sold as such, may be designated as spices, flavorings and colorings without naming each; provided, to the extent that compliance with the requirements of [subdivision (2) of this subsection] subparagraph (B) of this subdivision is impracticable, or results in deception or unfair competition, exemptions shall be established by regulations promulgated by the commissioner and director, acting jointly; [(j)] (10) if it purports to be or is represented to be for special dietary uses, unless its label bears such information concerning its vitamin, mineral and other dietary properties as is necessary in order fully to inform purchasers as to its value for such uses, as provided by regulations promulgated by the commissioner and director, acting jointly; [(k)] (11) if it bears or contains any artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, artificial sweetening or chemical preservative, unless it bears labeling stating that fact; provided, to the extent that compliance with the requirements of this subsection is impracticable, exemptions shall be established by regulations promulgated by the commissioner and director, acting jointly; (12) if it is genetically engineered, as defined in section 2, of this act, and does not bear labeling as required in accordance with section 3 of this act, unless (A) it is a food produced without the producer’s knowledge that a seed or other component of the food was genetically engineered, or (B) on or before July 1, 2019, it is a processed food, as defined in section 2 of this act, that is subject to the provisions of section 3 of this act, solely because it contains one or more materials that are genetically engineered, as defined in section 2 of this act, provided such genetically engineered materials do not, in the aggregate, account for more than nine-tenths of one per cent of the total weight of the processed food.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:  October 1, 2013, 21a-102

Statement of Purpose:

To require the labeling of genetically engineered food


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