Connecticut Seal

General Assembly


Raised Bill No. 5117

February Session, 2012


LCO No. 863




Referred to Committee on Environment


Introduced by:





Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) For the purposes of this section and sections 2 to 5, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Cultivated commercially" means grown or raised by a person in the course of his or her business or trade and sold within the United States;

(2) "Enzyme" means a protein that catalyzes chemical reactions of other substances without being destroyed or altered upon completion of such reactions;

(3) "Genetically engineered" means any food that is produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetic material changed through the application of: (A) In vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques and the direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or (B) fusion of cells, including protoplast fusion, or hybridization techniques that overcome natural physiological, reproductive or recombination barriers, where the donor cells or protoplasts do not fall within the same taxonomic family, in a way that does not occur by natural multiplication or natural recombination;

(4) "Organism" means any biological entity capable of replication, reproduction or transferring genetic material;

(5) "In vitro nucleic acid techniques" means techniques, including, but not limited to, recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid or ribonucleic acid techniques, that use vector systems and techniques involving the direct introduction into the organisms of hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such as microinjection, macroinjection, chemoporation, electroporation, microencapsulation and liposome fusion;

(6) "Processed food" means any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any food produced from a raw agricultural commodity that was processed through canning, smoking, pressing, cooking, freezing, dehydration, fermentation or milling; and

(7) "Processing aid" means: (A) Any substance that is added to a food during the processing of such food but that is removed in some manner from the food before the food is packaged in a finished form; (B) any substance that is added to a food during processing, that is converted into constituents normally present in the food, and that does not significantly increase the amount of the constituents naturally found in the food; or (C) any substance that is added to a food for its technical or functional effect in the processing but that is present in the finished food at insignificant levels and that does not have any technical or functional effect in the finished food.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) (a) On and after July 1, 2014, any food offered for retail sale in this state shall be deemed misbranded if such food is, or may have been, entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and such fact is not disclosed, as follows: (1) In the case of a raw agricultural commodity, on the package offered for retail sale, with the clear and conspicuous words "Genetically Engineered" on the front of the package of such commodity, or in the case of any such commodity that is not separately packaged or labeled, on a label that appears on the retail store shelf or bin in which such commodity is displayed for sale; and (2) in the case of any processed food, in clear and conspicuous language on the front or back of the package of such food, with the words "Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering" or "May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering".

(b) Nothing in subsection (a) of this section shall be construed to require either the listing or identification of any ingredient or ingredients that were genetically engineered, nor that the term "Genetically Engineered" be placed immediately preceding any common name or primary product descriptor of a food.

(c) The requirements of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any of the following:

(1) Food consisting entirely of, or derived entirely from, an animal that was not genetically engineered, regardless of whether such animal was fed or injected with any genetically-engineered food or any drug that was produced through means of genetic engineering;

(2) A raw agricultural commodity or food derived from such commodity that was raised or produced without the knowing and intentional use of genetically-engineered seed or food, provided any person required to comply with the provisions of this section obtains a sworn statement from the person providing such commodity or food that such commodity or food: (A) Was not knowingly or intentionally genetically engineered; and (B) has been segregated from, and was not knowingly or intentionally commingled with, food that may have been genetically engineered at any time. In providing such a sworn statement, any person may rely on a sworn statement from his or her own supplier that contains such an affirmation;

(3) Any processed food that would be subject to the provisions of this section solely because it includes one or more genetically-engineered processing aids or enzymes;

(4) Any alcoholic beverage;

(5) Until July 1, 2019, any processed food that would be subject to the provisions of this section solely because such processed food includes one or more genetically-engineered ingredients, provided: (A) No single such ingredient accounts for more than one-half of one per cent of the total weight of such processed food; and (B) such processed food does not contain more than ten such ingredients;

(6) Food that an independent organization determines was not knowingly and intentionally produced from or commingled with genetically-engineered seed or genetically-engineered food, provided such determination is made pursuant to a sampling and testing procedure approved in regulations adopted by the Department of Agriculture. No sampling procedure shall be approved by the department pursuant to this subdivision unless such sampling is: (A) Performed according to a statistically valid sampling plan consistent with principles recommended by internationally recognized sources such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA), (B) consistent with the most recent "Guidelines on Performance Criteria and Validation of Methods for Detection, Identification and Quantification of Specific DNA Sequences and Specific Proteins in Foods, (CAC/GL 74 (2010)" published by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and (C) not reliant on testing of processed foods in which no DNA is detectable;

(7) Food that is lawfully certified to be labeled, marketed and offered for sale as "organic" pursuant to the federal Organic Food Products Act of 1990 and the regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture;

(8) Food that is not packaged for retail sale and that either: (A) Is a processed food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption, or (B) is served, sold or otherwise provided in any restaurant or other food facility that is primarily engaged in the sale of food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption; and

(9) Medical food.

(d) The Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Departments of Public Health and Energy and Environmental Protection, may adopt regulations pursuant to chapter 54 of the general statutes that are necessary for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this section.

(e) Any person may bring an action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enforce the provisions of this section and the court shall have jurisdiction upon hearing and for cause shown to grant a temporary or permanent injunction restraining any person from violating any provision of this section. In addition to any injunctive relief provided, the court may award to such person reasonable attorney's fees and all reasonable costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of such action, as determined by the court. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit or alter the powers of the department and its authorized agents to bring an action to enforce the provisions of this section.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) The Department of Agriculture shall adopt regulations, pursuant to chapter 54 of the general statutes, that establish best practices for farmers who cultivate commercially any genetically-engineered crop. Such regulations shall require the implementation of practices by such farmers to: (1) Eliminate or minimize the degree to which such genetically-engineered crop affects neighboring lands, and (2) minimize the amount of herbicides used by such farmers to eradicate herbicide-resistant weeds.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) Not later than October 15, 2012, the Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, report to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of the environment and consumer protection on a method to implement a program that will provide preference in the display of food items at retail establishments for any food item that is voluntarily labeled in such a manner as to indicate whether such food item is genetically engineered or contains genetically-engineered ingredients.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) Not later than October 15, 2012, the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, in consultation with the Commissioners of Agriculture, Public Health and Energy and Environmental Protection, shall publish a list on the Department of Consumer Protection's Internet web site that indicates those raw agricultural commodities known to be genetically engineered. The commissioner shall update such list not less than once every calendar year.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) Not later than January 1, 2013, the Commissioner of Administrative Services shall develop recommendations for the implementation of state agency procurement guidelines that will provide a preference for the use and purchase of processed foods and raw agricultural commodities that are voluntarily labeled to indicate whether such processed food or raw agricultural commodity contains genetically-engineered ingredients or is genetically engineered, respectively. Concomitantly, the commissioner shall submit any requisite statutory or regulatory changes for the implementation of such recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 5

October 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 6

October 1, 2012

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To require the labeling of genetically-engineered foods and to create best practices for GMO farming and preferences for food products that are voluntarily labeled to indicate whether they include genetically-engineered ingredients.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]