In January 2014, HB 660 was narrowly defeated. Washington DC industry lobbyists such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association were up to their old dirty tricks in deceiving lawmakers to help to kill the bill.
But New Hampshire is not giving up.
SB 411 was introduced in February 2014 by Senator Martha Fuller Clark and has four co-sponsors. According to the summary, “requires the labeling of genetically engineered foods and agricultural commodities.”
On January 3, 2013 HB660 "Requiring the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods & Agricultural Commodities,” was introduced to the New Hampshire State legislature and assigned to the House Environment & Agricultural Commodities Committee. HB 660 is sponsored by Representatives Maureen Mann, Linda Massimilla, Robert Perry, Suzanne Smith, and Ian Raymond.
As currently worded, the bill establishes that after July 1, 2014, any human or animal food offered for retail sale in this state shall be deemed misbranded if not properly labeled as a genetically engineered food. The bill would require labels to be placed on any food items produced entirely or partly through genetic engineering.
After a nearly five-hour hearing convened by the House Environment and Agriculture Committee on February 28, 2013, the bill is being retained in Committee. A subcommittee of the Environment and Agriculture Committee was formed to study this bill. The Subcommittee includes: Rep. Peter Bixby, Chair; Rep. Tara Sad (Environment & Agriculture Chair); Rep. Bob Haeffner, Rep. Jane Johnson, Rep. Wayne Moynihan, Rep. Alan Turcotte, Rep. Linda Lauer, Rep. Scott Burns, and Rep. Lisa Whittemore. Contact information for these representatives can be found at: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H06
The subcommittee began their work on August 13, with testimony by Rep. Lance Harvell, (R-Farmington, Maine). Rep. Harvell, a conservative Republican, was the primary sponsor of Maine’s bill requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, which was passed in June by Maine’s House and Senators.
At this work session, Subcommittee members also discussed possible amendments to the bill, and decided to exclude restaurants, medicine and alcohol from the list of items to be labeled. They also eliminated the meat from any animals, unless the animal itself has been genetically engineered, and to exclude eggs and dairy products, even if the animals that produced these products are fed genetically modified crops. They will be changing the date that the bill takes effect, and will require some kind of trigger clause.
On September 3, the guest speaker was Dr. Michael Hansen of Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. Dr. Hansen testified before a standing-room only crowd. Dr. Hansen’s testimony can be found at: http://consumersunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/NH-Testimony-GE-Labeling-0913.pdf
Additional Subcommittee Work Sessions have been scheduled for September 10 and September 17. On Sept. 10, we can expect to hear from Gary Hirshberg of Stoneyfield Farm and Just Label It!
The Subcommittee is expected to make their recommendations to the Environment and Agriculture Committee in October. The policy committee -- Environment & Agriculture Committee -- then has until November 22, 2013 to make a decision to either recommend the bill as written, make any changes by way of an amendment, or recommend that the bill be inexpedient to Legislate (killed).
Regardless of what the the Environmental and Agricultural Committee decides, it will appear on the House calendar in December, and will be voted on by the NH House of Reps in January.
After the bill passes through the House of Representatives, it will be turned over to the Senate to review, before their vote.
To learn more about GMO Labeling in New Hampshire, visit the NH Right To Know Website.