Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Reaffirms Commitment to Passing New York State’s GMO Labeling Law

New York to Connecticut: We got your back

New York, NY – On the heels of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy's signing the first-in-the-nation law requiring labeling of genetically modified organism (GMO)-containing food products, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) reaffirmed her commitment to passing her bill, A.3525-A, which would require GMO labeling in New York State, and help Connecticut’s law move one step closer to implementation. Connecticut's law requires neighboring states with total populations of 20 million to also pass labeling laws.

“With New York State's population of approximately 19 million, passing my bill will help Connecticut realize its goals, and will move the country as a whole toward national GMO labeling,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Despite the intense opposition from the industry that we continue to face here in New York, the people of this State demand to know the ingredients in the food they are eating and feeding to their families. It is to them that I have a responsibility, and not to well-funded interests who oppose GMO labeling.” The bill is carried in the New York State Senate by Ken LaValle.

Assemblymember Rosenthal’s bill, introduced in January 2013, came up for a vote in the New York State Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection in the waning days of the Legislative session. Though Rosenthal had the votes to pass the bill out of the committee by a comfortable margin, some members changed their minds only moments before the vote, after a lobbyist for the seed industry communicated with them. Since then, Rosenthal has worked closely with national- and state-level advocates, forming close coalitions and creating momentum. The Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs held a hearing on the bill in July of this year, which drew supporters from around the state and beyond.

Emboldened by their success in California and Washington State, where the industry poured millions of dollars into successfully defeating ballot initiatives that would have required GMO labeling, companies like Monsanto and its cronies in the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the trade group that represents businesses engaged in consumer packaged goods, has begun a slick marketing campaign to change the public’s perception about GMOs. Washington State's attorney general has filed suit against the GMA for violations of the state's campaign disclosure laws, for illegally collecting and spending $7 million while shielding donors' identities.

“I am confident that New York's public will not be fooled by the industry's campaign,” said Assemblymember Rosenthal. “What’s more, requiring that GMO products be labeled does not imply anything, negative or positive, about the safety of GMO-containing food products. Simply put, labeling is a common sense consumer protection measure that will empower the public to make important decisions about the food products they buy.”

New York’s Legislative session will resume in January, and Assemblymember Rosenthal expects that bill A.3525-A will be on an early committee agenda.