Legislation that would mandate labels on products containing genetically modified organisms failed to advance through the legislative process this session in New York. The time clock ran out Thursday as state lawmakers adjourned for the year.
But Diana Reeves, founder of Connecticut-based GMO Free USA, confirms it will "set the East Coast back another year." The bill will have to start again "from scratch." But she adds that it's "just a matter of time" before the United States joins the 64 other countries requiring labels for GMO foods.
Related: National GMO Labeling Bill Draws Favorable Reaction
As proposed, mandated GMO labeling would impact every sector of the food production industry – from seed to store shelf. Additional costs levied on farmers and producers, warehousing and distribution centers and inventory management would all contribute to added costs to consumers, according to a recent Cornell University study by Bill Lesser of the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. If mandatory labeling were to become law in New York, the cost of food for a family of four would increase by $300 to $800 annually, says Lesser.
Related: Vermont's GMO Labeling Food Fight Begins, As Expected
"The cost of food is already an issue for many families in our state," says Rick Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance. "Legislation mandating GMO labeling will only raise food costs, and could have serious negative effects on the farming and agriculture industry in our state. We are thankful that lawmakers took time to evaluate the facts surrounding the labeling campaign and arrived at a reasonable conclusion".
Hundreds of studies have proven that GMO foods are as safe as conventionally grown food. These studies have been cited by some of the most respected authorities on health and food in the country, including the United States Department of Agriculture, the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration.