New Yorkers Wage Urgent Battle for GMO Label Law

Campaigners for a bill to label foods made with genetically modified organisms (or GMOs) in New York are racing against the clock this week as they rally for a vote before state lawmakers on Thursday adjourn for the year.

In what has emerged as a pivotal battle in the state-by-state labeling fight, outside industry groups have spent millions to lobby against Bill A03525, according to a recent report (pdf) by the New York Public Interest Research Group.

“If New York passes a bill it will be a game changer,” Stacie Orell, campaign director for the grassroots group GMO Free NY told Common Dreams. Because of New York’s economic power and population of 19 million people, a labeling law in the state will send a strong message to both the industry and the federal government, Orell explained.

Further, passage of a GMO label law in New York would create a “domino effect” in the region, Orell continues, nearly fulfilling the trigger clause for the Conneticut GMO label law, which passed last June.

Diana Reeves, founder of GMO Free USA, told Common Dreams that the corporate food industry is “trying to be strategic about where they pick their fights and invest their funding.”

Reeves cited the PIRG report which found that in 2013 alone, companies including Monsanto, Kraft, and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association spent over $3.2 million lobbying New York lawmakers, outspending supporters by nearly 7 to 1.