With ceremonious flourish last week, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a bill that would require labeling on all products meant for human consumption that contain genetically modified ingredients (GMO). The legislation was passed by voters in June and actually received the governor’s formal endorsement at that time.
The Dec. 11 ceremonial signing, which took place at the front of raw foods restaurant Catch a Healthy Habit in Fairfield, CT, was meant to send a signal: Connecticut is willing to legislate change in this arena, but it couldn’t – or wouldn’t – do it alone.
The voter-backed law will roll into effect only after four other Northeastern states passed their own independent GMO-labeling laws. The law also stipulates:
So we’ll bite: What does it say when a state feels it must have the “buddy system” support of its neighboring entities (and their sizable population numbers) in order to withstand the threat of suits from large corporations?
While Connecticut’s willingness to cross the line first has garnered respect from voters throughout the country (including from adjacent states that are still attempting to pass such legislation), the move seems more reminiscent of the schoolyard dare of years ago when we each pushed the other to “go first” into the fray.
Connecticut’s law requiring GMO labeling is surely to rankle large corporations that stand to gain from Monsanto’s cutting-edge technology, but it also diverges into its own new and awkwardly bold territory, where states make laws on dares and voters have no control over ensuring that their ballots will actually count for something within their lifetimes.
To date, Maine is the only other Northeastern state to pass a GMO-labeling law. That means only 15,081,292 (and one adjacent border of course) to go.
Image of f Gov. Dannel Malloy courtesy of Office of Governor Dannel Malloy
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.