HB660, New Hampshire’s Bill to Label GMOs, Voted Down by Razor Thin Margin
Massive Influx of Outside Corporate Money and Misinformation Deceives House Members
Concord, New Hampshire, January 22, 2014 — HB660, New Hampshire’s bill to require labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms was narrowly defeated today in the NH House of Representatives by a razor thin margin of 185-162 votes. In recent weeks, a massive effort by out-of-state biotech corporations, the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association), and their trade industry allies conducted a relentless campaign of misinformation and fear-mongering against the bill. Supporters of this GMO Labeling Bill consider this close vote to be a major milestone in the face of such concerted opposition.
“We are so appreciative of NH’s representatives who have debated, amended and seriously considered this bill,” said Maureen Mann, primary sponsor of the bill. “This issue means a lot to NH citizens, and they should be encouraged, knowing that their legislators took the bill seriously. We look forward to evaluating our work from this past year and considering amending and reintroducing labeling legislation at a later time”
“We’ve learned a lot and gained many allies these past six months while working on grassroots education around this bill,” said Janet Wilkinson, Executive Director of NOFA-NH (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire). “The issue has captured the interest of many, and we are amazed and encouraged by the grassroots support and leadership that New Hampshire farmers, food advocates, parents and business owners have already shown. We look forward to continuing this important work on behalf of the constituents who care so much about it.”
GMO Labeling bills have been signed into law in Connecticut and Maine. New Hampshire’s GMO Labeling language is virtually identical to the laws passed in neighboring New England states. Similar legislation has passed the Vermont House by a large margin and is now under consideration in the Vermont Senate with a decision expected this winter. GMO Labeling laws have passed in 64 countries around the world representing two-thirds of the world’s population. Next, the New Hampshire Senate will take up the issue of mandatory GMO labeling.
“This is consistent with what we’re seeing in the rest of the country as well,” said Dave Murphy, founder and director of Food Democracy Now! “This issue strikes a chord with citizens across all boundaries of age, family status, political leanings, and geographic locations. They want transparency in the food system, and they see GMO Labeling as a way towards that.”
A scientific poll in November revealed that 90% of NH voters support GMO Labeling, and the flood of constituent action supported those numbers.
Next month, the GMA will be in court responding to a lawsuit by the Washington State Attorney General, for violation of campaign finance laws and for laundering out-of-state corporate money to use against the I-522 Labeling Law Washington State.
The NH GMO Labeling Campaign is a coalition of farming, consumer, and advocacy organizations that are working together to educate and inform the public about HB 660 and to work for the passage of GMO labeling in NH. More information at http://nofanh.org/farming/policy/gmolabeling/. Contact Alexis Simpson, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.