A legislative taskforce looking at a measure to require the labeling of genetically modified food will hold a hearing this afternoon while protesters supporting such a measure are expected to gather just steps from the state Capitol.
Farmers are increasingly relying on uses gene-splicing techniques to make crops more resistant to herbicides and insects. With the rise of genetically-altered soybeans, sugar beets and corn, critics of GMO — which stands for genetically modified organism — food say about 80 percent of the packaged items on supermarket shelves contain genetically modified ingredients.
Food manufacturers insist such ingredients are safe, but critics say consumers have the right to know what they are eating. The European Union requires food with GMO ingredients to be labeled, but efforts to institute a similar requirement in several states, including Connecticut, have fallen short. Last month, voters in California defeated a labeling requirement after big food manufacturers spent millions fighting the measure. (In Connecticut, a labeling bill cleared the legislature’s environment committee during the last session but died before coming up for a vote.)
“I would like to see Connecticut become the first,” Rep. Phil Miller, a Democrat from Essex and vice-chairman of the environment committee, said Tuesday. Miller will lead a hearing of the GMO taskforce this afternoon at 1:30 at the state Capitol complex.
At noon, supporters of the movement to label GMO food will gather in the small park near the state Armory adjacent to the legislative office building.