[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – At a press conference today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Jon Tester (D-MT) in expressing his serious concerns regarding the current Senate proposal for the labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs). The proposal passed a procedural hurdle earlier this afternoon, and is likely to receive a final vote later this week.
“Connecticut has a special stake in this legislation, because we have a GMO labeling law that would be overwritten and subjugated by this measure. This so-called labeling law is an affront and insult to the people of Connecticut who have already decided that they want real labeling,” Blumenthal said. “There are clear defects in this law: the lack of a clear and stringent standard for labeling, the lack of enforcement, and the lack of transparency.
Today, Blumenthal and his colleagues voiced their opposition to the plan for utilizing machine-readable Quick Response (QR) codes in lieu of clear descriptions that people can understand and for including a definition that could sharply limit the number of GMO products covered by the bill. Under the current proposal, according to a plain reading of the bill and the analysis of experts, many products derived from genetic engineering could be exempted from labeling requirements.
Video of Senator Blumenthal’s remarks at today’s press conference is available for download here.
Photos from today’s press conference are available here.
Blumenthal has been a leader in the effort to seek clear, accessible labels for genetically engineered foods. Last year, Blumenthal introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2015 to empower consumers to make smart eating choices by minimizing confusing and misleading information that consumers encounter on food packages, as well as the Genetically Engineered Right to Know Act, which would require the Food and Drug Administration to clearly label genetically engineered foods so that consumers can make informed choices about what they eat.