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February 22nd, 2013

Field Notes from the Campaign to Label GE Foods: Connecticut

By Nisha Swinton

Supporters of the “Right to Know GMO CT” coalition united at the Legislative Office Building on Feb. 8 to ask the Connecticut General Assembly a candid question: Are you standing up for consumers’ rights to know whether or not the food they eat and feed their families with has been genetically engineered?
 
Food & Water Watch is excited to support the great work and grassroots power that GMO-free CT has initiated to pass groundbreaking legislation to label genetically engineered foods in Connecticut. The growing Connecticut Coalition includes GMO-Free CT, NOFA CT, Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch and many others – over 100 local, state and national organizations who are committed to ensuring Connecticut consumers know whether their foods are genetically engineered. Over the past few weeks alone, 109 businesses and organizations across the state have joined the coalition, 180 residents have attended campaign action meetings, and grassroots leaders have scheduled over 20 educational events around the state (for a full events listings visit: see www.gmofreect.org).

The vast majority of processed foods contain GE ingredients, which are largely untested, unlabeled, and potentially unsafe. Unfortunately, far too many American consumers remain clueless about whether or not their food is genetically engineered, but Connecticut residents are sharp, informed, driven and refuse to sit back in silence when it comes to demanding that GE food be labeled. Perhaps the most critical action we can take right now towards creating and sustaining an honest food system is to label GE foods. Once these foods are labeled, all consumers – regardless of where their live or how much money they make – become empowered with the knowledge to choose safety over processed chemicals.
 
“As someone who has lived in the Hartford area all of my life and worked as a reporter for several of the state’s newspapers, I am keenly aware of the sophistication and intelligence among Connecticut residents. I have faith that business owners, residents and coalition allies will not stop fighting until they know for certain that GE food labeling will become a way of life,” says Joanna Smiley, Food & Water Watch Public Relations Volunteer.
 
Rep. Phil Miller, D-Essex, and Diana Urban, D- North Stonington, in separate committees, introduced a bill to label GE foods, which is currently in the revisor’s office. Next steps and the exact timeframe is still to be determined, but we will keep building public support and awareness for the bill.

2 Comments on Field Notes from the Campaign to Label GE Foods: Connecticut

  1. david samuels says:

    why are you using old old information from the CT right to know? The websites you are using in your blog are from the summer of 2012.

    And then you have a broken link http://www.gmofreect.org

    Do you really want a bill to pass? I’m wondering. I hear alot about FWW and how you collect signatures and then just raise money. And, that you don’t really want state bills to pass.

    What is the truth of your motives?

    • aghosh says:

      David, we apologize for the link problem. It should be fixed now. Yes, we want a bill to pass, and that is why we are campaigning in support of it and devoting significant resources including sending three organizers currently on the ground in the state to work with our partners in support of the bill. We have an entire campaign dedicated to passing state and national legislation on GE labeling – we are up against powerful corporate interests and these fights will not be won easily. But, we know from our experience working on successful campaigns to ban arsenic in chicken feed in Maryland, fight fracking in New York, pass Human Right to Water legislation in California, and fighting water privatization in Illinois, that when we work together and organize, over time it is possible to defeat even entrenched powerful interests. Collecting signatures is critical to showing decision makers the breadth of support for labeling and that there is a significant constituency that elected officials must listen to. Its one piece, but its an important piece.

      We fundraise like any organization, but in our case, it’s to remain independent from corporate and government money. It’s Food & Water Watch members that power our organization and allow us to work at the federal level and with allies at the national, state, and local level to fight for safe food and clean water.
      -Mark Schlosberg, National Organizing Director

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