The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

GMO Labeling in Massachusetts

The Genetic Engineering Food Labeling Act, ­­­awaiting a new bill number, was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and now heads to the House Committee on Ways and Means. We are excited to see that our advocacy and your support have taken GMO labeling one big step closer to reality in Massachusetts!

Our work isn’t over yet. Apparently the bill had a bit of a detour to House Speaker DeLeo’s office first. The bill that emerged from the committee differs somewhat from the one originally filed.  The redrafted bill will still require that food offered for retail sale in Massachusetts that is entirely or partially produced with genetic modification be labeled, and prohibit food produced with genetic modification from being labeled as “natural,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” “naturally made” or anything similar that would tend to mislead a consumer.

The redraft added a “trigger” clause, delaying the point at which the law would take effect. As currently written, the law would not go into force until five of the following states enact “similar” bills: ME, VT, CT, NY, NH, RI. Also, the total aggregate population of those states will need to reach 20 million.  In passing a bill with such a stringent trigger, Massachusetts would essentially be telling the rest of the Northeast, “We’ll go last!”

As the House Committee on Ways and Means is reviewing the bill, we will be pushing to remove the trigger clause and other changes/revisions that will make the bill more effective and consistent with existing GMO labeling laws.


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