February 10, 2016
Massachusetts HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES “NO”
ON GMO FOOD LABELING BILL
Concord, NH—Today Massachusetts legislators voted “no” on forced labeling for foods made from genetically engineered seeds. With a vote of 239-122 Massachusetts becomes the latest state to decline to move forward on food labeling legislation, following New York last year and California and Washington in prior years.
“We are grateful to lawmakers who are standing up for Massachusetts’s farmers, consumers, grocers and small businesses,” said Gene Harrington of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). “State-based labeling only creates confusion in the marketplace, raises food prices and penalizes farmers who choose to utilize modern technology. GMO food labeling policies can be resolved best by experts at the Federal level.”
Genetically engineered crops generally use less water, pesticides, and can resist droughts, yielding more crops per acre. Foods produced from these crops undergo stringent testing. Leading regulatory and health associations including the Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the World Health Organization, have all signed off on the safety of genetically engineered food.
A wide variety of Massachusetts organizations opposed the legislation including:
Massachusetts Grocers Association
Massachusetts Retail Association
Massachusetts Soft Drink Association
Massachusetts Refreshment Service Association
New England Automatic Merchandising Association
Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance
Massachusetts Grocers urge legislators to stop food labeling bill Massachusetts.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 14, 2014
The Massachusetts Grocers Association today urged legislators to “say no” to forced labeling of Genetically Engineered (GE/GMO) foods—legislation that may come to a vote this week. The grocers said labeling would cause unnecessary harm to the economy by adding costs for Massachusetts grocers, consumers, and food producers such as breweries, wineries and retail merchants.
The grocers added that required labeling will also impact the state budget as the costs to create and maintain a state-run labeling program could run as high as nearly half a million dollars per year. John Dumais, President and CEO of the NH Grocers Association said, “This legislation mandating GE labels on food products just for Massachusetts is unnecessary, as consumers already have a choice of what they buy.
They can already purchase “Certified Organic” or “Non-GMO” foods if they prefer.” He added that the labeling bill, HB 660, creates confusion where none is needed, is contrary to scientific facts, and will add costs for Massachusetts residents at the grocery store. Leading regulatory and health associations including the Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Association, National Academies of Science, World Health Organization, and United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization have all signed off on the safety of genetically engineered food. “Ninety-three percent of Massachusetts’s food is imported,” Dumais continued.
“Forcing companies to produce special labels just for Massachusetts isn’t practical–they will either stop selling to us or substantially increase their prices. Our choices at the grocery store would be reduced and labels would mislead consumers to believe they should be concerned about a product’s safety when that’s simply not true.
On top of all that, it would cost consumers hundreds of dollars more per year for food,” he said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2013
Environment & Agriculture Committee Votes to Protect Small Businesses, Farmers and Consumers.
We thank the Environment and Agriculture Committee, for their leadership in defeating HB 660—An Act Requiring the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods and Agricultural Commodities. This important step not only protects Massachusetts residents from paying hundreds of dollars more for their groceries, but it also protects Massachusetts small business owners, and farmers, along with those who work for them.
Massachusetts consumers are already provided with information on food labels that allows them to make informed choices. HB 660 only serves to confuse consumers and mislead them into believing they should be concerned about food products that are perfectly safe. Not only are genetically engineered foods safe to eat, but they also allow Massachusetts’s farmers to maintain a competitive level with their counterparts nationwide.
“Ultimately, such debates about the labeling of genetically modified foods, especially if it only serves to cause consumer confusion, obscures the more important story about the benefits of genetic modification, such as reduced need for pesticides and fertilizers and improved crop yields,” said Karen Batra, spokesperson for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
HB 660 would not only increase food prices for Massachusetts consumers, but would also cost the state up to a half million dollars to implement at a time when the state budget is stretched to the limit.
We hope the House of Representatives supports the Inexpedient to Legislate recommendation of the Environment and Agriculture Committee when it is considered in January.