Committee on Children

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5300

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS IN CHILDREN'S FOOD.

Vote Date:

3/8/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/3/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Committee on Children

REASONS FOR BILL:

To provide families with information critical to making appropriate dietary choices for their children.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

“None Expressed”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Joyce Acebo-Raguskus, Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Connecticut: testified that “labeling is essential in discerning healthy choices for our infants and children”.

Pamela Arifian, United Church of Christ Northeast Environmental Justice Center: stated that the, “youngest members of our society are the most vulnerable to disease, poor development and complications related to poor nutrition” as a result of ingesting foods containing GMOs.

Carol Baldwin, Weston CT: wrote “I want to know what's in my food and in the food my family eats.”

Leila Baroody, Sharon CT: indicated that citizens and children need to be protected from chemicals contained in genetically modified foods.

Elizabeth Beisel: testified that more tests need to be conducted to determine whether or not GMOs are harmful, “We can't know if GMOs are safe and harmless without labeling. Long term, independent, peer reviewed studies must be conducted to prove it”.

Alex Bergstein, Greening our Children: testified that she has the right to know if GMOs are in the food that she buys for her family.

Nancy Bowden, Bloomfield CT: stated that long term health studies on GMOs have not been conducted and that these chemicals could be harmful to children.

Robert Boyd: noted that as a naturopathic medical student, he expects the debate regarding the costs/benefits of GMO foods to go for long time, but that should not stop consumers from not knowing what foods are made with GMOs.

Kirk Bryson: indicted that Glyphosates have been known to be 'probably cancer causing' and should not be in children's food.

Louis Burch, Citizens Campaign for the Environment: stated, “Labeling children's foods that contain genetically modified ingredients gives consumers the right-to-know what's in the products they purchase for their families, so they can make their own informed decisions about the food they put in their children's bodies.”

Colleen Cimador: stated that consumers have a right to know what is in their food, for the well-being of their family, “Parents will be demanding why our government didn't protect us by knowingly allowing our children to consume toxins on a daily basis without warning”.

Amy Clark, Greenwich CT: stated that the American public is shopping blind by not being notified of GMO's in food.

Nancy Clifford, West Hartford CT: submitted testimony, stating, “Making the gmo labeling law effective now is important because the federal government is trying to take away Connecticut's ability to protect and inform its citizens”.

Debra Cohen, Wethersfield CT: testified that it is the responsibility of the company to let the consumer know what is in the product, “It is time for CT to finalize its commitment to transparency, integrity and truth in advertising”.

Tara Cook-Littman, Citizens for GMO Labeling: testified that companies need to be transparent and label their products so that consumers know what the risks are.

Dr. Trish Cosentino: wrote that she wants to know how the food she is feeding her family is produced.

Agnes Dann: stated that foods with GMOs need to be labeled in order to protect the children, “We are their caretakers and as such should be provided with the proper information to nourish them in a healthy fashion as we see fit, to protect their bodies when they are not yet able to understand how to do that”.

Marisa DelMonaco, Redding CT: indicated that GMOs are poisoning our foods, and that people need to know if GMOs are in the products and foods that they purchase.

Carol Demure, Storrs CT: wrote that she has immunocompromised family members, and labeling foods with GMOs will help her cater to her family's health needs.

Eileen Denny, Denny Chiropractic and Acupuncture: testified that companies are withholding information from the consumer, “Parents are kept in the dark when buying what they thought were healthy options for their children.”

Robert Dickinson, South Windsor CT: wrote that pesticides used in GMO crops have been known to be harmful and wants the foods to be labeled to give people the choice of whether or not to purchase.

Kathleen DiPatro: stated that she has a young grandson and wants to know how the food she feeds him is produced.

Bill Duesing, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut: wrote, “The time to label GMOs is now, especially for the foods we feed infants, babies and children. Parents have an interest in knowing what they are feeding their children, because food is so important in the early stages of life”.

Chris Eddy, Winvian Farms: indicated that food companies are intentionally keeping the general public in the dark regarding GMOs in their products. He urged the state to force companies to label their products.

Michelle Fracasso, Weston CT: stated that over 90% of Americans and 64 different countries are in favor of GMO Labeling.

Brigitte Frank, Old Saybrook CT: submitted testimony, stating that she has environmental and health concerns about foods containing GMOs and questions the ethics of food companies who are “hiding it from the public.”

Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.: testified that, “People ought to have the right to know what's in the food they are eating and companies ought to be proud to disclose the ingredients they use”.

Robert and Sandy Haiko, Lakeville CT: wrote that they want to know what is in their food and how it is produced.

Michael Hansen, Consumers Union: recommended amending the bill to cover all foods and remove the current trigger clause in our GMO labeling laws. His testimony included a scholarly consensus statement concerning the use of glyphosate-based herbicides and the risks associated with exposure.

Carol Hart: indicated that consumers should know when their products are produced with glyphosate, adding that at least 283.5 million pounds of this herbicide was sprayed on American farmlands in 2012 alone.

Miriam Hidalgo: urged the committee to require any product for children that is partially or entirely produced with GMOs be labeled.

Dana Jackson: stated that foods containing GMOs need to be labeled so that consumers can choose whether or not to purchase the items. It is their ethical and moral responsibility to label their items.

Miriam Johnson, Groton CT: indicated that labeling foods with GMOs gives people the choice of whether or not to consume foods that may be harmful.

Carol Joy, Fairfield, CT: stated that labeling all foods containing GMOs, makes manufacturers more transparent with how they produce their goods and improves consumer choice when purchasing foods.

Mary Ann Juliano: indicated that labeling would improve her ability to purchase foods for her son, who has multiple allergies and frequent sinus/ear infections.

Patrick Kelley, GetGrowingCt.org: noted that the majority of people simply want to know what is in their food.

Beth Lambert, Epidemic Answers: stated, “We must maintain the right to know what is in our food so that we can safely avoid toxic GMOs and the herbicides and pesticides sprayed on these unnatural agricultural products disguised as food.”

Philip Landrigan, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: wrote, “The proposed legislation would give families more information about the foods they are eating and the freedom to choose foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients and the environmental chemicals that are a byproduct of GMO usage.” Their testimony also included scholarly works regarding GMOs and herbicides.

Ana Landskron, West Haven CT: stated she supports the bill.

John Lowenstine: stated people have the right to know what's in the food they buy for their families.

Elizabeth Mantione, Ridgefield CT: stated people have a right to know if their food is genetically modified.

George Massey, Salisbury CT: noted that he wants to know how the food he feeds his family is produced.

Maria Matos, West Haven CT: stated that foods containing GMO's could make her children sick, and that she wants foods with GMO's labeled to protect her children.

Rolf Maurer, Green Party of Connecticut: wrote, “I believe it more than fitting that we in Connecticut support our right to make an informed choice as to what we put in our bodies, particularly as it relates to those among us who are at the foundational stage of their future well-being, our children”.

Ellen McCormick, Weston CT: provided a narrative about her allergies to certain artificial food dyes and preservatives were initially misdiagnosed and mistreated with radiation and it took decades for the science to not only catch up, but remove tumors that developed as a result of the radiation treatment. She believes that labeling would help families with children facing similar allergies and are learning GMO foods are the cause. Labeling now will better inform parents and prevent children from going through the same medical struggles.

Cyn Merrill: noted that she has celiac disease and needs foods with GMOs to be labeled so that she can purchase the foods she needs without spending unnecessary time researching which products do or do not have them.

Anne H. Milley: stated that with her daughter's allergies, they should have the right to know what is in certain products so they can choose foods that reflect their child's nutritional needs.

Raluca Mocanu and Edward Wazer, Storrs-Mansfield CT: indicated that foods with GMOs need to be labeled, so that they can purchase foods for their daughter, who has an autoimmune disease.

Michele Mudrick, Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ: wrote, “Parents and caregivers deserve to know what is in the food that they are feeding their children.”

Christine O'Day, CT Families Against Chemical Trespass: testified that she is concerned with the lack of GMO testing to ensure its safety and that harmful pesticides are sprayed on GMO crops.

Jennifer Pace, Simsbury CT: noted that she needs to be informed about whether or not the food she feeds her children contains GMOs.

Carol Peringer: wrote, “These unnatural agricultural products disguised as food, treated with herbicides and pesticides should be labeled as such”.

Cristina Ramsay, Unionville, CT: stated that she wants to know how the food she feeds her family is produced

Ann Reynolds, West Hartford CT: wrote, “Food should be labeled if there are genetically engineered ingredients so I can make the choice for my family”.

State Representative Emmett Riley: wrote that requiring labels is a sensible decision, comparing the requirement to mandatory nutritional/caloric labeling.

Szilvia Santopietro, Wilton CT: noted the difficulties her family faces trying to identify foods that are not made with GMOs and that we should improve the transparency of manufacturers that use them.

Jennifer O'Neil Sarwar: raised concerns about genetically engineered foods and their relation to chronic illnesses, as well as the fact many of these corporations already have to label their products when exported to other countries.

Ian Skoggard, New Haven CT: indicated that labeling provides a caution to consumers who are concerned about the environmental/health impacts foods made with GMOs have on their children.

Michael Smulders, Bakery on Main: testified that as a manufacturer, the cost of labeling is regularly updated and is built into the cost of his product to disprove arguments that have been made indicating a cost to labeling. The largest food companies could improve the trust of their consumers and improve transparency by labeling their products.

Dr. Elena Sokolova, Whole-Body Medicine: stated that labeling products with GMOs is no different than labeling foods that are likely to contain allergens like soy, egg, wheat, and nuts. Her testimony included a number of statements regarding GMOs with websites as citations.

George Stone, West Hartford CT: indicated that labeling infant formula, baby food, and children's food is important for parents concerned about the long-term impact of GMOs when their child is experiencing substantial mental/physical developments.

Jessica Stone: indicated that she wants to know how the food that she feeds her family is produced, and that every item available for purchase should be labeled.

Ben Tyler, New Milford, CT: testified that labeling is an important first step towards broadening the conversation around GMOs and improve long-term studies on their impacts to public health and the environment.

Theresa Velendzas, Glastonbury CT: stated citizens have a right to know if the food they feed their families contains GMOs.

Cynthia Willauer, Environmental Ministry Team of the Connecticut Conference of the UCC: noted that it is crucial for us to label products that contain GMOs due to how little is known by the public when foods are genetically modified.

Luz Yunez: stated that she wants foods containing GMO's to be labeled, so that she can choose whether or not to feed them to her children.

Jessica Zoccano: wrote that consumers have the right to know if the products they buy contain GMOs.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Gene Harrington, Biotechnology Innovation Organization: noted that going state-by-state on labeling laws can be inconsistent confusing for manufacturers.

Ronald Kleinman: stated that the decision to label foods containing GMO's is based on emotion, not science. He also stated that there is no evidence to support labeling requirements.

Michelle Embree Ku, Newtown CT: indicated that requiring labeling will result in regulation and enforcement costs that will be passed onto the consumer.

Mardi Mountford, Infant Nutrition Council of America: noted concerns that this bill will confuse and mislead consumer due to a lack of meaningful information associated with the labeling.

Paul Pescatello, Connecticut Bioscience Growth Council: testified that GMOs have been found to not be harmful and the concerns raised are hindering the effectiveness of the bioscience community.

Wayne Pesce, Connecticut Food Association: noted that GMO labeling could leave small businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

Henry N. Talmage, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association:
noted concerns that bill would put Connecticut farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

Reported by: Steve Jones, Assistant Clerk

Alessandra Burgett, Clerk

Date: 3/10/2016