Mandatory GMO Labeling for New Hampshire

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UPDATE 2/14/14:

After a great hearing Wednesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has voted to move SB 411 to an interim study committee. We hope the full Senate will affirm this recommendation next week. The bill will then be studied by the Senate Committee and acted on next year. Thanks for all the support and hard work you have given to GMO Labeling this year!

Also, here is a link to streaming audio from Wednesday’s hearing.

UPDATE 2/12/14:

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee public hearing on SB 411 – the room was packed this morning! Among those who provided verbal testimony in support of the bill were Jim Gerritsen, Britt Lundgren, Maureen Mann, Peter Bixby, Lisa Whittemore, Michael Faber, Mary Saucier ChoateAlex Simpson, Bonnie Wright and Janet B. Wilkinson (let us know if we missed you!). Next steps: the committee will consider the testimony in executive session (closed doors) today or next week, and possibly vote at the conclusion of that session. The bill will go to the full Senate regardless of the committee vote outcome. We’ll keep you posted as things happen! Here is a portion of what NOFA-NH provided as testimony:

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire was founded more than forty years ago to actively promote regenerative, ecologically sound gardening, farming and land care practices for healthy communities. We help people build local, sustainable, healthy food systems.

With the core of our work being to promote ‘organic’, it may seem counterintuitive that we’d be in support of labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The growing market of GMO-free food has the potential to cut into the often more expensive Organic labeled market. Yet, we hear from our member farmers that they are still in support of labeling.

Earl Tuson, who farms at Red Manse Farm in Loudon, says: “Customers regularly ask about how we grow our food. People want to know about my growing practices and I’m happy to tell them. They want to know about what is in their food so that they can make informed choices about their diet and that of their family, and they should have the right to do so.”

Larry Pletcher, who farms at the Vegetable Ranch in Warner, says: “The majority of my customers are concerned, informed consumers of local foods. I am convinced that they are smart enough to make rational decisions at the farmers market, food coop, or grocery store – as long as they have access to complete information. It’s time to label GMO foods.”

It is important to state that NOFA-NH is not against GMO’s. We are concerned about recent studies questioning the claim that herbicide use permanently decreases with GMO seed use. We are concerned about recent studies questioning the claim that GMO food has no effect on human or animal health. We are concerned about the continued proliferation of an industrialized food system that requires our local farms around the world to be dependent on a handful of international agri-businesses.

And we are, by far, most concerned that we do not have a choice about whether or not we participate in this new food system. One of our members put it simply by saying “there are a whole bunch of intertwining issues around the simple idea of inserting a gene” from one ‘kingdom’ into another. 64 countries around the world require labeling.

Connecticut and Maine have already passed GMO labeling bills that are nearly identical to the one before you, and the Vermont Senate is about to vote on a committee recommendation of ought-to-pass on their own GMO labeling bill. 90% of US citizens and 90% of NH citizens are in favor of labeling. NOFA-NH maintains that it is the duty of this legislature to find a way to label food that contains GMO’s. We’ll join our neighboring states to lead the turning of the tide.

UPDATE 2/11/14:

To the Editor:

This week the State Senate will be considering SB 411, their chance to vote on GMO Labeling  There are many reasons for the New Hampshire Legislature to pass this bill, such as the vast majority of the citizens want it and we all have the right to know what’s in our food, as do the citizens of 64 other countries around the world. The House somewhat narrowly defeated HB 660, so now the baton is passed to the Senate.

Our legislators and news media have been bombarded and courted by the corporate opponents to the passage of these labeling bills. Their ads and language have been full of the same kind of misleading and false information that was served up to the citizens of California and Washington, which led to the narrow defeats of GMO initiatives in those states. Vast amounts of money were spent to finance those campaigns, some apparently illegally. Clearly the same tactic has been applied here in our state. The name for this tactic is intimidation. It is designed to cause uncertainty and fear, and unfortunately it is proving effective in our society. There is a heavily financed bully in our nation’s legislative playground, and so far he has been winning.

What’s the best way to stand up against this bully? The House decision was based on concerns generated by an assumption of standing alone, and hence becoming a likely victim. However, there is a growing movement afoot to bring transparency and honesty to our national food supply, and we have the opportunity to join together to combat the overbearing tactics of Monsanto and its corporate allies. Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO labeling legislation and Vermont is well on its way to do so. New York and Massachusetts are very likely to follow suit. Where is New Hampshire? The Northeast, the birthplace of the first American Revolution has the rare opportunity of standing again for the cause of freedom and responsibility which are substantial inherent ingredients in SB 411.

Last fall Hedrick Smith, the Pulitzer Prize journalist, traveled our state to deliver presentations about his recent book called Who Stole the American Dream? I think we know who is stealing it and who is trampling on the common good and the general welfare, simply for their own profits.

This is an issue of national importance, and the GMO Labeling initiative is but a small start toward turning our nation around so we can head in a new direction toward the health and welfare of all people, not just some self-concerned corporations.

I urge people to contact their state senators to ask them to realize the importance of this bill and the significance of the decision which is before them this week.

Douglas Williams

Peterborough

UPDATE 2/8/14:

BREAKING! We’ve got another chance for mandatory GMO Labeling in New Hampshire! Read More.

UPDATE 1/22/14:

Read about today’s vote on HB660 in the NH House. 

 UPDATE 1/21/14:

Today is the last day to contact your legislators before tomorrow’s vote on HB 660!

Follow this link to find your legislator. There may be more than one in your area. Please call them all today.

Make sure they know the truth about the bill. 

And tell them why you support the amended version of HB 660:

  • GMO Labeling Around the World. Right now 64 countries representing over half of the world’s population require labeling of food which originates from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetic engineering (GE).
  • The Amended HB 660 Meets the World Standard.  New Hampshire’s amended version of HB 660 closely matches legislation overwhelmingly passed in 2013 in Connecticut and Maine.  The concept in this New England legislation mirrors the world standard.
  • New Hampshire Won’t Go It Alone.  Consistent with the “Trigger Mechanism” common to the GMO label legislation in Connecticut and Maine, HB 660 will not take effect until four other Northeastern States pass similar legislation.
  • HB 660 Will Pass Constitutional Muster.  The language in New Hampshire’s HB 660 has been reviewed by legal and constitutional experts who remain confident that should it be challenged in court, it will stand up to constitutional scrutiny.
  • Right-to-Know is a Basic Consumer Right.  HB 660 is a consumer rights bill aimed at providing simple label transparency to New Hampshire citizens.  It doesn’t make a judgment as to whether GMOs are good or bad – it just requires food manufacturers to be honest and let citizens know whether a food is the result of genetic engineering.
  • GMO Labeling Costs Will NOT Cause Food Price Increases.  Food corporations already regularly change their labels for marketing reasons. Practical GMO labeling experience worldwide, as well as university studies prove that mandatory GMO labeling, will NOT affect the price consumers pay for food.

UPDATE 1/21/14:

Check out this impressive list of farms and small businesses that publicly support HB660! http://www.nhrighttoknowgmo.org/Supporters.html

UPDATE 1/20/14:

The Opposition Is Misinforming Your Legislator on GMO Labeling: Call NOW to Make It RIGHT!

The opposition to this GMO Labeling bill is using a misinformation campaign to gather votes against HB 660 and GMO Labeling.  Read more

UPDATE 1/19/14: 

Quoted from a letter by Doug, a Right-To-Know-GMO-Labeling advocate, which he sent to one of his representatives:

Yesterday I attended the meeting in Keene at the Colonial Theater where Gary Hirschberg was the principal speaker about the GMO Labeling issue. A Keene friend had shared with me beforehand the full-page No to Labeling ad and the editorial that had been printed in that morning’s Keene Sentinel. The ad was full of the same kind of misleading and devious information that was served up to the citizens of California and Washington, which led to the narrow defeats of GMO initiatives in those states. Clearly the same tactic is being applied here in our state. The name for this tactic is intimidation. It is designed to cause uncertainty and fear, and unfortunately it is proving effective in our society. One of the ways it has been effective in New Hampshire is that some here have come to fear the possibility of litigation being brought against our state if we vote to pass HB 660. This sounds scary and therefore unwise as a course of action. The aim and frequently the result of fear-based intimidation is that the recipients of that message will subside and not act in a way that could benefit them and others. The bully on the playground wins. I see a significant opportunity coming to our state this week. The eyes of the nation will be somewhat upon us – what will be the vote of our Legislature on this matter? Will New Hampshire vote no and thus bring an end to the momentum building in neighboring states which requires a yes vote here to continue? Or will our legislators seize this moment of opportunity to vote yes to collaborate with our neighboring states, thereby reinforcing this growing momentum so that the federal government, deeply infiltrated by corporate influence as it is, will get the message from the American people that legislation on the federal level is the right place for final action which should happen soon in a timely manner? I know, as you believe, that federal legislation is where this matter should ultimately be debated and determined, but the immediate issue is how to get it there?  How can we move against these heavily-financed, bullying power plays of corporate interests that have so little regard for the common good? There are many, many issues to be determined and decided in relation to GMOs in our food supply. There is much we simply don’t know and need to find out. That said, in the meantime, is it responsible to cast significant votes in keeping with the wishes of the corporate powers that are secretive, devious and capable of outright lies in the words they utter and the practices they pursue? I wonder if you might consider altering your own position in this critical moment? Can you act and encourage others to think and act in different terms, as a way of moving toward different ground on which all parties together – rather than against each other – might discuss and decide these vital matters in a way that seeks the good of all and the general welfare of our nation? I am aware I am asking a lot, but even more than a lot is involved here. Thanks for your consideration.

UPDATE 1/15/14: 

The bill will now come to the House floor on January 22, because time ran out to get to it yesterday. 

UPDATE 1/13/14:

The Full NH House of Representatives votes this Wednesday January 15 on HB660!

*****Read and share the action alert:  http://conta.cc/1hQT0jT  *****

GMO Labeling is about your right to know…Please call your representative today!

Follow this link to find your legislator. There may be more than one in your area. Please call them all today - the House vote is Wednesday!

Ask your representative to support the amended version of HB 660:

  • GMO Labeling Around the World. Right now 64 countries representing over half of the world’s population require labeling of food which originates from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetic engineering (GE).
  • The Amended HB 660 Meets the World Standard.  New Hampshire’s amended version of HB 660 closely matches legislation overwhelmingly passed in 2013 in Connecticut and Maine.  The concept in this New England legislation mirrors the world standard.
  • New Hampshire Won’t Go It Alone.  Consistent with the “Trigger Mechanism” common to the GMO label legislation in Connecticut and Maine, HB 660 will not take effect until four other Northeastern States pass similar legislation.
  • HB 660 Will Pass Constitutional Muster.  The language in New Hampshire’s HB 660 has been reviewed by legal and constitutional experts who remain confident that should it be challenged in court, it will stand up to constitutional scrutiny.
  • Right-to-Know is a Basic Consumer Right.  HB 660 is a consumer rights bill aimed at providing simple label transparency to New Hampshire citizens.  It doesn’t make a judgment as to whether GMOs are good or bad – it just requires food manufacturers to be honest and let citizens know whether a food is the result of genetic engineering.
  • GMO Labeling Costs Will NOT Cause Food Price Increases.  Food corporations already regularly change their labels for marketing reasons. Practical GMO labeling experience worldwide, as well as university studies prove that mandatory GMO labeling, will NOT affect the price consumers pay for food.
Thank you!

Please share this action alert by copying and pasting this link:  http://conta.cc/1hQT0jT

UPDATE 12/10/13: 

Please support this MoveOn Petition: GMO Labeling for NH! Petition by david schmechel to be delivered to The New Hampshire State House, The New Hampshire State Senate, and Governor Maggie Hassan. There are currently 626 signatures. NEW goal – We need 750 signatures! Whatever our beliefs are about the effects of genetic engineering we as consumers have the right to know what is in our food so we can make an informed decision about what we are purchasing. Read and sign the petition

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UPDATE 11/25/2013: 

Janet Wilkinson, NOFA-NH Executive Director, will be a guest on NHPR’s The Exchange tomorrow (Tuesday), discussingHB-660, the GMO Labeling Bill in New Hampshire, and the wider movement for GMO Labeling around the country.

Please join the conversation!
Call in to the live show between 9-10am with your questions and comments! (800) 892-6477. 

UPDATE 11/11/13:

Intern Opportunity! NOFA-NH seeks a self-starting, organized, local-and-organic-food-loving individual for a Policy and Community Organizing Internship. The policy focus is currently HB660, which will require labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in New Hampshire. Read more. 

UPDATE 11/10/13:

To the Editor: Hedrick Smith, the Pulitzer Prize journalist, recently made a tour of our State, making presentations and leading serious discussions on the topic of his new book Who Stole the American Dream? To be brief, his message is that the American people are in peril for their rights, due to the massive power grab of the corporate powers which have taken control of our governing processes, creating a huge and increasing division in the wealth and welfare of the citizens of this nation, and seeking only their own profits with no real concern for the common good. As many know, the people in several states have determined to take measures into their own hands in an effort to strike back by demanding their right to know what is in their food, the food they eat and feed their families and friends. GMO Labeling bills have been passed in the State Legislatures of Connecticut and Maine, and such a bill is now under consideration here in the New Hampshire Legislature. A vote on this bill will take place in January. A recent poll has shown that 90% of New Hampshire citizens want this right, a right that has been affirmed in 64 other countries in the world, but is being denied to us here in the United States. Who is so opposed to this, and why? A recent vote on GMO Labeling was held in the State of Washington, in which the corporate powers spent $27 million in an effort to prevent its passage, and they did this before on a vote in California some months ago. What does that tell you? Our legislators are divided on this issue, some saying it would be unconstitutional to pass such a law. Others say it would be impossible to enforce properly if each state has its own law on the subject. The advocates of the GMO Labeling bills in various states are coordinating their efforts to obtain clear and collaborative language in every bill being considered, and their work is being assisted and directed by numerous and experienced constitutional lawyers. The arguments being made against passage and the fears stirred are therefore erroneous and unjustified. It is crucial to the passage of this bill that as many citizens as possible make their voices heard by their own legislators in the State Legislature. A clear call from the citizenry regarding our inherent right to know what is in our food is the greatest impetus this bill (HB 660) could receive. More information can be obtained by going to the following website: http://nofanh.org/farming/policy/gmolabeling/. Many people snicker or laugh outright at our State Motto – Live Free or Die – but it’s true. We are becoming insignificant citizens in a corporate nation. It’s time to make a choice and take a stand. Live free or die. Douglas Williams Peterborough, NH

UPDATE 11/8/13: 

Dear Friends, It’s time to set our sights on the debate and vote on the House floor in January. Thank you for your hard work these last couple of weeks! The New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee narrowly defeated the amended version of HB 660 (12-8) yesterday, but that does not mean the end of the bill. Although the bill did not pass the committee, it was evident that your calls really made a difference. The vote was close, closer than it would have been without your participation! According to recent polling data, 90% of New Hampshire citizens want the right to know what’s in their food. We’ll keep reminding our citizen legislators! Your contact with your legislators will be absolutely crucial as we move to the full House in January. We’ll continue to put information on our website and send you action alerts asking you to contact your House member, but it’s never too early to let them know that you support the amended version of HB 660, that you want the right to know how your food is produced. The committee legislators heard you! We thought of all of you (and even heard a couple of your letters read by a committee member) yesterday in the Committee hearing room. Thanks again for reaching out and for passing the word on to your friends. Take care, Alex Alex Simpson ahksimpson@gmail.com (603) 303-4722

UPDATE 11/7/13: 

HB660 passed the House subcommittee that had been exhaustively studying it since mid-August last week. But the bill came up short yesterday when the Environment and Agriculture Committee vote occurred after only a single session of consideration, with 12 voting ‘against’, 8 voting ‘for’. The popular amended GMO labeling bill now goes to the Full House for a debate and vote in early 2014. The news of its failure in the full committee came as a surprise to many, since a scientific poll released this week revealed that 90% of NH citizens are in favor of GMO Labeling, and nearly as many are in favor of a state law to require it. Read more

UPDATE 11/6/13: 

Tomorrow at 1pm is the vote. Please, make a call, send an email and tell your friends to do the same! Come to Room 302 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord at 1 p.m. on 11/7 to show your support for GMO Labeling! Get there a few minutes early for a good seat!

UPDATE 11/5/13: 

New poll finds that 90% of NH citizens want GMO Labeling!!! Read more.   

UPDATE 11/4/13: 

 IT’S NOW OR NEVER FOR GMO LABELING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE! Help Needed! The Full House Environment and Agriculture Committee votes on HB 660 this Thursday November 7th! Read the ACTION ALERT  

UPDATE 10/29/13:

 BREAKING NEWS: The NH House Subcommittee just voted ‘ought to pass’ on HB660! Thanks to Reps. Peter Bixby, Wayne Moynihan, Scott Burns and Lisa Whittemore, who voted ‘ought to pass’. Read the full voting results. The amended bill now moves to the Environment and Agriculture Committee, with an expected vote on November 7. THANK YOU for all of your work so far – give yourselves a nice pat on the back for a job well done! Read the Press Release  

UPDATE 10/24/13: 

Two more Letter to Editor examples, both published in Fosters Daily Democrat.

September 18, 2013 To the editor: New Hampshire currently has a bill in the House (HB660) that would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs). I support GMO labeling. My husband and I have the right to know what is in our food so that we can make the choices we would like for our children and ourselves. Some worry that GMO labeling would significantly raise grocery costs. This is not true. A study by Dr. Joanna Shepherd-Bailey of Emory University’s School of Law found that if food manufacturers passed the cost of GMO labeling on to consumers, the average household’s “total food expenditure will increase by a one-time cost of $1.27.” (The study can be found here: http://bit.ly/QSBqvN)

Alex Simpson with her sons Blake and Will.

Alex Simpson with her sons Blake and Will.

This month a subcommittee of the New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee is studying HB 660 and GMO labeling. On Tuesday, Gary Hirshberg, Chair of Stonyfield Farm and Just Label It, told the subcommittee that manufacturers routinely change labels without passing the cost on to their consumers. (As I write this, a new independent study has been released stating that requiring food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients will not increase food prices at the supermarket. The study can be found here: http://bit.ly/1ehr7jE) Connecticut has already passed a law requiring GMO labeling. Maine’s legislature has passed labeling as well. Maine’s governor has committed to signing the law in January. All Granite Staters also deserve the right to know what is in our foods. We shouldn’t have to leave our state to find labeled foods. I hope New Hampshire’s legislature will listen to citizens like us who want the manufacturers to label the genetically modified foods on our grocery store shelves. Alexis Simpson, Exeter

 

Monday, October 14 To the Editor: Although foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are ubiquitous in the average American diet, most consumers do not know that the foods they eat contain GMOs. Consumers have the right to know what they put into their bodies. House Bill 660 would help support this right in New Hampshire. The Food and Drug Administration approved GMOs in the 1990s based on the premise that GMOs are substantially equivalent to other foods and crops. However, the insertion of foreign genes into an organism’s DNA can alter the expression and functioning of the existing genes. These genetic modification side effects can increase the production of proteins that are toxic or allergenic to humans. No testing is required in the United States to determine if GMOs are harmful to humans. However, peer-reviewed animal-feeding studies have indicated negative effects to the liver, kidneys, reproductive organs, the immune system and the digestive system from a GMO diet. While the full body of studies regarding the safety of GMOs is inconclusive, many studies indicating no harm from GMOs are produced by scientists either directly or indirectly funded by the GMO industry. The lack of scientific consensus regarding the safety of GMOs is a primary reason why foods containing GMOs should be labeled. In the face of studies suggesting potential harms from consuming GMOs, individuals have the right to choose whether or not to avoid eating GMO-containing foods. Putting labels on GMO-containing foods gives consumers the ability to make their own decisions. ABIGAIL BLINE, Concord Concord

UPDATE 10/20/13: 

Read NOFA-NH’s letter to the HB660 Subcommittee, which was submitted into the record this past week: NOFA-NH Letter to Env. Ag. Committee

UPDATE 10/18/13:

Doug Williams of Peterborough shared a portion of a letter he sent recently to Rep. Bob Haefner, member of the HB660 Subcommittee:

I’m very interested in HB 660 which is now being considered by a subcommittee of the E & A Committee. You have said previously your belief is that this issue needs to be addressed on the federal level, but I suspect you know as well as I do it will never happen there with the existing conditions of power and control. I have, and believe others should have, a real wonderment and concern about why 64 other countries in the world have laws in place requiring GMO labeling on products so consumers will know what’s in their food, laws these companies adhere to, but which they are assiduously seeking to prevent for citizens of our own country. This strikes me as seriously unpatriotic activity, and they are willing to spend millions of dollars (money they make by selling their products to us) to sustain this self-seeking and publicly irresponsible behavior. The citizens and legislatures of Connecticut and Maine have worked hard and long to get GMO labeling bills passed or nearly passed into law in their States. The success of their efforts depends on what happens now in other contiguous States, like New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. This is an earnest grassroots effort to address and overcome a monopolistic tendency and practice that is being mounted by a number of large corporations with the active collaboration of the federal government. It’s as if King George has taken up residence in the United States. I’m wondering if you are in support of this monopolistic tendency and practice, or on the side of the citizens of this country who have a right to know what’s in our food. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

UPDATE 10/17/13: 

Testimony for the HB 660 Subcommittee from Mary Saucier Choate, M.S., R.D.N., L.D, Food and Nutrition Educator and Staff Wellness Team Coordinator at the the Co-op Food Stores of Hanover and Lebanon, NH and White River Junction, VT:

The Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society was founded in 1936 and for 77 years has supported the consumers’ right to know about  the food they are purchasing.  We are owned by over 30,000 households, mostly in New Hampshire and Vermont, and our four retail food locations serve an average of 5,300 customers each day. Our members have made it clear that they want to know what is in the food they purchase and how it is produced. Consumers have a right to know what is in their food.  Mandatory labeling of GMO food products or foods containing GMO ingredients will allow consumers to identify and steer clear of (or stock up on) these foods to support or withhold their support of this agricultural technique. At least 21 countries and the European Union have established some form of required GMO labeling, proving that it can be done. If processors can access non-GMO ingredients for foreign countries, they can access them for Americans. Other corporate labeling methods are embraced by industry such as Gluten Free, 100% Orange Juice not from concentrate, farm-raised/wild caught seafood, and Country of Origin Labeling. Producers using GMO ingredients are  not willing to let consumers know what they are including in their products. This begs the question, why not? If they wanted to showcase GMO ingredients, they could do so easily, as they have in the examples I mentioned. We support your efforts to side with your constituents and against large biotech firms who have no interest in being transparent about their methods and the products they affect. New Hampshire residents and all consumers deserve this consideration.

UPDATE 10/9/13: 

Yesterday’s session was a time for members to submit documents for the formal record. The session started out with a list of ‘issues’ to discuss or consider as related to the bill. The list includes:

  • The potential negative connotations for labeling GMOs (the ‘skull and crossbones’ effect)
  • Religious issues (Would GMO Labeling help an individual of the Muslim or Jewish faith determine if a product is halal or kosher?)
  • Constitutionality of labeling GMOs
  • Concerns about the uniformity of GMO Labels across states and countries. Also about the uniformity of the definition of GMOs across states and countries.
  • Cost and impact of labeling on farmers
  • Will labeling in NH cause distributors to decide not to sell products here?
  • Should should sugars and oils be included?
  • Should restaurants be included in labeling requirements?
  • What are the risks inherent in GMO crops?
  • Does labeling deal with those risks?
  • Will there be a trigger clause? If so, what will it be?
  • How will labeling be enforced?
  • What are the costs for the state if the bill goes through?
  • Should there be a GMO-free label instead?
  • Will there be a cost to consumers for GMO Labeling?
  • Right to Know issues

By far, the issue discussed longest was the risks inherent in GMO crops – that includes the potential risks to our health and to the environment. Several on the committee seem to dismiss those risks outright. Others agree there are potential risk, but are concerned that the research that exists has “more vigor than rigor”. A huge thank you for all of your calls and emails to Subcommittee Members over the last few days! Many subcommittee members remarked about how many of you they heard from yesterday. It is not too late to contact them – the committee will still be deliberating for a few more weeks – see below for their contact information!

UPDATE 10/3/13: 

TAKE ACTION NOW: You have a right to know what is in your food! The New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Subcommittee have been meeting every Tuesday since August 13th to study whether or not to require labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). They have heard the testimony of national experts. Now it is time for them to hear the voices of their constituents! Please call or write the members of the Agriculture Subcommittee by Monday October 7th. Let them know you support HB 660, requiring the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering. Read the talking points and then contact one – or preferably ALL – of the subcommittee members listed below!

  • Peter Bixby (D- Sub-Committee Chair-Cheshire – Dist 1, Dover) 749-5659 peter.bixby@leg.state.nh.us
  • Scott Burns (D- Merrimack Dist. 2, Franklin) 203-7727 scottburnsstaterepresentative@gmail.com
  • Alan Turcotte(D- Merrimack Dist. 22, Allenstown) 485-2349 alanturcotte4rep@gmail.com
  • Wayne Moynihan (D-Committee V-Chair, Coos Dist. 2, Dummer) 449-2058 wayne.moynihan@leg.state.nh.us
  • Bob Haefner (R-Hillsborough Dist. 37, Hudson) 889-1553 bobhaefnerjp@comcast.net
  • Jane Johnson (R-Cheshire Dist. 12, Swanzey) 352-4057 janejohnson7@yahoo.com
  • Linda Lauer (D -Grafton Dist. 15, Bath) 747-4001 linda.lauer@leg.state.nh.us
  • Lisa Whittermore (D-Rockingham Dist. 5, Londonderry) 434-0382 lisa.whittemore@leg.state.nh.us
  • Tara Sad (D-Committee Chair- Cheshire Dist 1, Walpole) 756-4861 tara.eric@gmail.com

HELP SPREAD THE WORD: Download this alert HB660 Subcommittee Action Alert (.doc) or HB660 Subcommittee Action Alert (.pdf) or share the image below via social media.

hb660alert2

UPDATE 10/1/13:

Bill Couzens (founder of lesscancer.org), Carolyn Partridge (lead sponsor of Vermont’s GMO Labeling Bill), Laura Murphy (Vermont Law School) and Chris Nicholopolous (Preti Flaherty) testified at the HB 660 Subcommittee hearing today. The committee still seems split in their support (or not) of our right to know whether the food we buy is genetically modified. But Ms. Murphy’t study of the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s and other state’s GMO Labeling bills seemed to answer some concerns. 

UPDATE 9/25/13:

Well it was tough (for us at least!) to sit through several hours of anti-GMO-labeling testimony yesterday at the HB660 Subcommittee Hearing. But all who stayed to the bitter end of the marathon 3 hour session were treated to the unassuming, no-nonsense words of Roger Noonan, representing the National Farmers Union and the New England Farmers Union, which takes a stance of pro-biotechnology AND pro-labeling. Roger said that sometimes we need to “use legislation as a tool for change”. He pointed out that the need to know is understandably strong for most people because “there are a whole bunch of intertwining issues around the the simple idea of inserting a gene” from one ‘kingdom’ into another. Thank you, Roger!

UPDATE 9/11/13: 

This new study, published in PLOS ONE, concludes that complete genes may pass from food to human blood – it turns out we really are what we eat! Thinking about that along with the recent discovery of hidden viral genes in commercial GMO crops (http://bit.ly/145UTPM ) has us wondering about the safety of genetically engineered food. Let’s follow the lead of Connecticut, Maine and 60+ other countries and get GMO food labeled in New Hampshire!

UPDATE 9/10/13:

Gary Hirshberg testified before the HB 660 Subcommittee today. Hear the gist of his argument on why we should label GMO foods in this TED Talk. 

UPDATE 9/2/13:

Michael Hansen, Senior Staff Scientist at Consumers Union, gave excellent testimony today in support of HB660. Read it here. The following statement highlights the NOFA Interstate Council position on GMO Legislation:

“As one of the oldest organic farming organizations in the country, NOFA has long been working against the hegemony of the biotech corporations in agriculture. Coordinated at the interstate level through the Interstate Council Policy Committee (IC-PC), earlier this year the seven NOFA state chapters registered as plaintiffs in a major lawsuit challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed. Titled Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGATA), et al. v. Monsanto the unprecedented legal action is being brought by the Public Patent (PUBPAT) Foundation with 83 farming groups and individuals from across the nation. In addition, NOFA is working with fellow regional, national and international coalition members on GMO policy to leverage expertise and coordinate grassroots responses – including the North East Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG), the National Organic Coalition (NOC), the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Meanwhile, NOFA chapters are ramping up statewide campaigns and legislative initiatives as well as featuring GMO awareness at their winter conferences and websites. There’s a lot for citizens to learn about GMOs and their impacts – from health and environmental effects to the machinations of power politics and agribusiness as usual.”

- Bill Deusing, NOFA Interstate Council Coordinator