November 30, 2021

Rep. Phil Miller Wants Genetically Modified Food Labeled

State Representative Phil Miller D-Chester, Deep River, Essex, & Haddam), the new Vice Chair of the legislature’s Environment Committee, would like Connecticut to be the first state in the nation to require the labeling of food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

“Consumers have a right to know what is in their food,” said Miller. “When a parent buys fruit, they assume that they are bringing a natural snack home for their children, but that isn’t always the case these days. When we buy packaged foods, we can read the label and make an informed decision if we want to buy that product—so why shouldn’t parents know if fruit contains genetically modified ingredients?”

Legislation (HB 5117) introduced by the Environment Committee would require labeling of fruit, vegetables, and other genetically-engineered foods. It would also create best practices for GMO farming and preferences for food products that are voluntarily labeled to indicate whether they include genetically-engineered ingredients.

Miller noted that the only reason certain foods including fruit and vegetables were exempt from federal food labeling requirements was that when the laws were created there were no GMOs in foods.

“Fruit used to be just fruit. You knew if you bought an apple that is was an apple—plain and simple. Now you might be getting an apple that contains who knows what,” said Miller.

GMOs are products that have been genetically modified at the cellular level to increase yields and resist disease.  DNA molecules from different sources are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified genes.

Other states, including California, Vermont, and Washington, are considering similar legislation this year.

Miller, who will be taking part in a forum on GMOs at the State Capitol later this week, said he also be meeting and working with local farmers on the pending legislation.