Times are tight for a lot of people in Massachusetts, especially at this time of year. But a bill before the Massachusetts Statehouse (HB 660) will make it harder for struggling families to make ends meet because it will directly impact the cost of food, at the grocery store and in restaurants.
HB 660 will force food manufacturers and restaurants to label their products if they contain genetically engineered, or modified, organisms (GMOs). You may have heard of GMOs, because there’s a vocal group of people who are concerned about the effects of GMOs, even though their concerns are completely unfounded. Hundreds of exhaustive scientific studies have been done and the data proves GMOs pose no health risks. That’s why the FDA, the American Medical Society, and the World Health Organization, just to name a few, all support GMOs.
If HB 660 passes, it will be impossible for restaurants to comply with the labeling requirements. As any chef will tell you, restaurants are at the mercy of the supply chain with regard to raw products and ingredients they buy. For most of our members, menu items are made by hand, and many times a dish is customized at the customer’s request. Naturally, this leads to huge variation in the ingredients and make-up of any particular dish listed on a menu. For example, imagine a restaurant on a busy night – the chef starts the night working with non-GMO tomatoes, but in the middle of dinner service he runs out of those tomatoes. He’s forced to switch to tomatoes that have GMOs. He may have intended to serve non-GMO tomatoes all night, but he is at the mercy of his produce company, which only had GMO tomatoes available. Are we now asking the chef to halt his dinner service and reprint his menus to comply with this new proposed regulation? I know most customers get very upset if their food takes a little too long to be served on a busy night – imagine the backlash if dinner service stopped until the menus are reprinted.