- A number of U.S. states have the GMO debate on the lineup for this year's legislative session, which could impact — or be impacted by — the passage of a national GMO labeling standard.
- States like Maine are focused primarily on GMO labeling, a contentious issue among legislators, food companies, and consumers. Other states, like New York, are tackling many aspects of GMOs, from labeling and agriculture (particularly organic crop contamination) to potentially banning GMO crops and/or GMO salmon sales.
- Other states joining the GMO debate, namely labeling, include Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, Alaska, Missouri, and New Jersey.
These states' efforts could be superseded by a national GMO labeling standard if Congress passes one this year. That could mean national mandatory labeling, as public health advocates and companies like Campbell support, or voluntary labeling, which many food companies and food industry organizations are behind.
Last July, the House passed a bill that would negate state-mandated GMO labeling laws in favor of a national voluntary labeling. The Senate Agriculture Committee discussed GMO labeling last session.
According to a recent study, while a vast majority of consumers asked whether they support GMO labeling said they do, when asked more generally what they would want on food labels, without any specific prompts, only 7% of consumers said GMOs.
The food industry has mounted a major campaign touting how mandatory GMO labeling laws could affect farmers, consumers, and food and beverage companies. The pro-labeling movement won't have the funds to counter the campaign at the same magnitude, but these anti-GMO advocates do have the support of many public health organizations, consumers, and state legislators.