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Stender: ‘Strike While the Iron is Hot’ on GMO Food Labeling

Assemblywoman Pushing for Action on GMO Food Labeling Legislation in NJ in Wake of Recent Passage of Similar Legislation in Vermont

(SCOTCH PLAINS) — Assembly State Government Committee Chairwoman Linda Stender (D-Union) issued the following statement Thursday in the wake of the Vermont legislature’s passage of a bill that would require foods with genetically modified ingredients be labeled as such in that state:

“With Vermont poised to become the first state in the country to require GMO labeling, we in New Jersey now have a perfect opportunity to strike while the iron is hot and pass our own GMO labeling legislation (A-1359).

“As with any new technology, the long term health risks of foods made with GMOs are not well known. Until we better understand how GMOs affect us in the long run, New Jersey consumers who are concerned about eating healthy, eating sustainably or just about what they put in their bodies should have the option to choose between foods that contain GMOs and foods that don’t. However, because of how pervasive GMO ingredients currently are, that choice becomes almost impossible to make without legislation requiring GMO labeling.

“In the same way that states now require that restaurant menus include the calorie count of individual items and meal combos, requiring GMO labeling will help create a better educated, more choice-conscious New Jersey consumer.”

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered or genetically enhanced with DNA from bacteria, viruses and/or other plants and animals — combinations that could not occur in nature or with traditional crossbreeding/cross-pollination — to improve the resultant organism in some way. According to food companies, approximately 80 percent of US packaged foods contain GMO ingredients in some form.