2013 has been the year of the GMO labeling fight, and this month brought pro-labeling supporters a victory. Connecticut has become the first state to pass legislation requiring companies to label GMO products. Though it seems like small potatoes, this is a big victory for anti-GMO advocates across the country.
While Connecticut isn’t the first state to introduce GMO labeling legislation, it is the first to successfully pass it. In 2012, it looked like Vermont would be the one to get the GMO labeling ball rolling, but the state failed to get the measure passed.
Washington and California also faced major GMO labeling battles. California urged people to vote yes on Prop 37, while Washington had the Yes on 522 campaign. Both of these campaigns were successful in that they got people talking about the issues. However, both ultimately failed at getting legislation passed.
Though neither was successful in getting GMOs labeled, they did help start and continue the conversation about labeling that likely helped Connecticut pass their legislation. As more people become educated on the issues, the more the issues are discussed. Those discussions lead to legislation like what Connecticut recently passed.
While it’s exciting that Connecticut has passed labeling legislation, it’s not a total victory and you won’t immediately start finding labeled products in the stores. For Connecticut’s law to come into effect, four other states must pass similar measures, and there’s no telling when that may happen.
The legislation also states that a combination of northeastern states with a combined population of 20 million must adopt a similar law. This part seems more likely to happen, with states like Vermont in the mix. Though Vermont’s labeling legislation did not pass originally, it’s still something many residents of the state would like to see, including the ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s.
Connecticut may not have presented the clear-cut victory that many were hoping for, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see where the GMO labeling movement takes us in 2014.