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Fairfield Activist Leads GMO Labeling Group to Hartford

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - The food labeling advocacy group started in Fairfield, Right to Know CT, is ramping up its efforts to support proposed legislation to require labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The bill set for a vote this week in the Connecticut House of Representatives would mandate the labeling of foods containing GMOs. At present, no state in the country requires such labeling, despite the overwhelming presence of GMOs in the nation’s food supply.

“If the bill passes the House, it moves to the state Senate,” says Analiese Paik, Fairfield resident and founder of the Fairfield Green Food Guide and co-founder of Right to Know CT. “If it passes the Senate, it goes straight the governor’s desk.”

At least seventy percent of processed foods sold in supermarkets contain at least one genetically modified ingredient, according to a 2003 study commissioned by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The FDA does not require specific safety testing on GMOs to determine the effects of consumption by humans or animals. However, dozens of countries across the globe — including China, Japan, South Korea, Australian and all European Union Members — have enacted laws requiring labeling of foods containing GMOs.

Right to Know CT is planning to rally at the state capital in Hartford on Friday, May 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the goal of influencing state legislators to call the bill to the floor for a vote.

Prior to this week, Right to Know CT launched a petition asking House and Senate leaders and Governor Malloy to turn HB 5117 into law. “This petition is the only means we have to make our voices heard,” says Paik. “Other than showing up, which we’re doing, too.” As of Wednesday, May 2 at 2 p.m., Right to Know CT had obtained more than 8,000 signatures.

Supporters of the bill will gather on the north side of the state Capitol building, Friday, May 4 at 11:30 a.m. “Even if people can only spend a few minutes, it matters,” says Paik.

“This can be a very complicated issue,” Paik explains. “People can get easily overwhelmed. But if people can just do one little thing, that doesn’t take very long, we would encourage them to sign the petition, to say that this issue matters. And then share it with friends.”

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