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Harlem Advocates Push Albany to Pass GMO Labeling Bill

By Gustavo Solis | February 10, 2016 2:17pm
 The coalition is made up of local groups like Harlem Grown and We Act, businesses like Ponty Bistro, local politicians, and advocacy organizations. They want the state to pass a law requiring genetically engineered crops to be labeled.
The coalition is made up of local groups like Harlem Grown and We Act, businesses like Ponty Bistro, local politicians, and advocacy organizations. They want the state to pass a law requiring genetically engineered crops to be labeled.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

HARLEM — A coalition of nonprofits, parents and advocates are pressuring Albany to pass a bill that would require genetically modified food (GMOs) to be labeling in New York.

Genetically engineered crops can be resistant to herbicides or repel insects. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of processed foods in grocery stores contain GMOs but there are no rules requiring those products to be labeled.  

“This is common sense legislation,” said Ryan Thoresen Carson of the New York Public Interest Research Group. “Ninety-three percent of Americans support this bill and you can’t get 93 percent of Americans to agree on anything.”

Carson was citing a 2013 poll from the New York Times. Currently Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO labeling bills.

The coalition hopes that New York can increase momentum and create a domino effect for other states to pass similar legislation, Carson added.

Advocates, including members from Harlem Grown, spent more that a year drumming support in the neighborhood by setting up tables outside grocery stores to let people know about the legislation.

They asked supporters to call Assemblyman Keith Wright, who became a co-sponsor last week.

More than 70 politicians have signed on to the bill so far.

Harlem Grown has several gardens in the neighborhood and lets students take home organic produce.

Advocates said Wright’s support will help the bill make it through the Committee of Codes, of which Wright is a member off. Once the bill passes the Assembly it will have to pass the State Senate.