Filippi Presents Food Labeling Bill for Grocery Stores to Notify Customers of Products that Contain GMOs

Bill would provide consumers with better information and could help support local agriculture

STATE HOUSE – Representative Blake Filippi (I-Dist. 36; Block Island, Charlestown, South Kingstown and Westerly) has testified before the House Health, Education & Welfare Committee regarding his legislation (2016-H 7255) that would require grocery stores to post signs informing customers that their products contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“People have the right to know what’s in their food. More and more foods have come onto the market that have their genesis in a petri dish and DNA splicing, rather than natural farming. Basic truth and transparency in food labeling is only fair,” said Filippi.

“Over 25 countries have taken action to protect their citizens from GMO products – either through partial or outright bans, or with labeling requirements. Unfortunately, our federal government has failed to enact even a most basic GMO labeling requirement. It is now left to the state of Rhode Island to enact reforms to fully apprise customers of what is in their food,” said Filippi.

“While I fully support my colleagues’ bills requiring manufacturers to label foods that contain GMOs, I am concerned of potential legal challenges.  Our bill is meant to withstand these legal challenges because it labels foods at the point of sale rather than by a manufacturer that operates in interstate commerce. Grocers are asked to post a sign informing customers their food contains GMOs unless the individual packaging states otherwise. This is a smart way to inform customers about the foods they eat while avoiding federal legal challenges,” explained Filippi.

Co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Scott Slater (D-District 10, Providence), Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown), and Rep. Charlene M. Lima (D-District 14, Cranston, Providence).