State Legislation Addressing Genetically-modified Organisms

6/22/2016

GMO Legislation Summary

Genetically modified tomatoes shown getting red dye added.Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are any organism whose DNA has been modified using genetic engineering techniques. Food producers began using this technique to create pest resistant plants and disease resistant animals to ensure a more stable and sustainable food supply for the public.

As genetic modification of food sources has become more widespread, state legislatures have introduced legislation to inform consumers if food products contain any GMO’s.

Vermont is the first state to require certain genetically modified food to be labeled. This law requires certain food to be labeled as “produced with genetic engineering” if the food is (1) offered for retail sale in Vermont, and (2) entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering. The law exempts animal products, certain processed foods, and certain raw agricultural commodities from the labeling requirement.

For the 2016 legislative sessions: 

  • 95 bills relating to GMO’s were proposed in 25 states 
  • Of these, 70 bills related directly to the labeling of GMO’s 
  • Three of the GMO’s labeling bills passed or were enacted: ME H 295, MI HR 89, and MI SR 59 
  • Two other bills, PA SR 95 and TN HJR 218, supporting the use of scientific data to assess the impacts that regulations have on the food industry were also adopted.

States with Legislation Addressing Genetically-Modified Organisms

US map showing states with legislation addressing GMO's.

 

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State Legislation Addressing Genetically-modified Organisms
State Bill No. Title Summary
Alaska H 92 Genetically Modified Food Labeling Relates to the labeling of food. Relates to the misbranding of food; requires labeling of food produced with genetic engineering.
Alaska H 258 Genetically Modified Fish Sale Ban Prohibits the sale of a genetically modified fish or fish product.
Alaska HJR 28 Opposing Genetically Modified Salmon Opposes the United States Food and Drug Administration's approval of AquaBounty AquAdvantage genetically engineered salmon. Urges the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that requires prominently labeling genetically engineered products with the words "Genetically Modified" on the product's packaging; encourages the restoration of wild, native populations of salmon in areas where development has negatively affected salmon.
Alaska SCR 28 Genetically Modified Labeling of Products Suspends Rules 24(c), 35, 41(b), and 42(e), Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature, concerning House Joint Resolution No. 28. Opposes the United States Food and Drug Administration's approval of AquaBounty AquAdvantage genetically engineered salmon. Urges the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that requires prominently labeling genetically engineered products with the words "Genetically Modified" on the product's packaging.
Arizona H 2275 Genetically Engineered Foods and Labeling Would require that all genetically engineered food offered for retail sale in this state contain a label with the disclosure that the food is genetically engineered food.
Connecticut H 5300 Use of Genetically Modified Organisms in Children Food Concerns the use of genetically modified organisms in children's food. Requires infant formula, baby food and children's foods that are produced partially or entirely with genetically engineered materials to be labelled as such.
Florida H 1369 Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods Relates to labeling of genetically engineered foods. Provides mandatory labeling requirements for genetically engineered raw foods and processed foods made with or derived from genetically engineered ingredients. Directs Department of Health to adopt rules. Provides for injunctive relief actions. Requires court to award costs and fees under certain circumstances.
Florida S 1700 Labeling Of Genetically Engineered Foods Relates to labeling of genetically engineered foods. Providing mandatory labeling requirements for genetically engineered raw foods and processed foods made with or derived from genetically engineered ingredients by a specified date.
Florida S 1708 Labeling Of Genetically Engineered Foods Relates to labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Georgia HR 450 House Study Committee on Genetically Engineered Foods Creates the House Study Committee on Genetically Engineered Foods.
Hawaii H 686 Genetically Engineered Fish Prohibits propagating, cultivating, or farming genetically engineered fish in state marine Waters.
Hawaii H 687 Pesticide Use Authorizes counties to regulate genetically engineered organisms and pesticide use to the extent that the regulations are more stringent than state or federal laws.
Hawaii H 1391 Genetic Engineering Mandates the Department of Agriculture to take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent, or minimize the adverse effects of biotechnology and genetic engineering.
Hawaii S 131 Genetically Engineered Material Establishes labeling requirements for any food or raw agricultural commodity sold in the state that contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material. Establishes exceptions. Establishes violations. Requires the director of health to adopt rules.
Hawaii S 610 Pesticide Rules and Ordinances Expressly pre-empts counties from enacting, adopting or enforcing ordinances or rules relating to GMOs. Expressly pre-empts counties or other political subdivisions from enacting, adopting or enforcing ordinances or rules relating to pesticides.
Hawaii S 712 Genetically Engineered Products in Enterprise Zones Makes the research, development, sale, production or processing of genetically engineered agricultural products not for direct human consumption as food ineligible for tax and other incentives granted to certain businesses located in enterprise zones.
Hawaii S 874 Genetically Engineered Seeds and Plant Parts Prohibits the planting of a genetically engineered seed or plant part in an open field. Allows the chairperson of the Board of Agriculture to grant an exception where such planting is done in a controlled environment.
Hawaii S 875 Genetically Engineered Material Establishes, beginning Jan. 1, 2016, labeling requirements for any food or raw agricultural commodity sold in the state that contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material. Establishes exceptions. Establishes violations. Requires director of health to adopt rules.
Hawaii S 884 Genetically Modified Organism Requires a biotechnology company that sells a genetically modified organism that the company knows or has reason to believe will be used to produce an agricultural commodity to provide written disclosure of possible risks from the use of such an organism.
Hawaii S 885 Genetic Engineering Mandates the Department of Agriculture to take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the adverse effects of biotechnology and genetic engineering.
Hawaii S 1315 Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods Requires labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered; provides a penalty for violations and authorizes private civil enforcement of the act.
Hawaii S 1321 Genetically Engineered Food Requires all genetically engineered food to be labeled with a disclosure stating that it is "Produced with Genetic Engineering"; deems any genetically engineered food sold without the required disclosure to be misbranded and subject to penalties.
Hawaii S 2574 Genetically Modified Organism Risk Disclosure Requires a biotechnology company that sells a genetically modified organism that the company knows or has reason to believe will be used to produce an agricultural commodity to provide written disclosure of possible risks from the use of such an organism. Provides that a written notice does not waive any liability a biotechnology company may have toward a purchaser.
Hawaii S 2575 Genetically Engineered Seeds and Plant Parts Prohibits the planting of a genetically engineered seed or plant part in an open field. Allows the chairperson of the Board of Agriculture to grant an exception where such planting is done in a controlled environment.
Hawaii S 2576 Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Mandates the Department of Agriculture to take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the adverse effects of biotechnology and genetic engineering.
Hawaii S 2577 Genetically Engineered Material Label Requirements Establishes labeling requirements for any food or raw agricultural commodity sold in the state that contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material; establishes exceptions; establishes violations. Requires director of health to adopt rules.
Iowa H 147 Food Labeling Requires food items to be labeled with information that identifies the food items as genetically modified. Provides that the department of agriculture and land stewardship is responsible for administering and enforcing's provisions. Provides that a person manufacturing a packaged food item must disclose whether it was or may have been subjected to genetic engineering when produced.
Illinois S 734 Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act Creates the Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act. Provides that beginning on the effective date of the act, any food offered for retail sale in this state is misbranded if it is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and that fact is not disclosed in a certain manner. Provides that the act shall not be construed to require either the listing or identification of any ingredient or ingredients that were genetically engineered.
Illinois SR 255 Legislative Resolution Urges Congress to direct the clarification of national food labeling standards. Shows support for meaningful consumer education and for measures that provide consumers with a reasonable means of identifying food products that may or may not have been developed using bioengineering. Encourages food manufacturers to further study ways to inform consumers about food choices, as long as the information provided is truthful and not misleading. Urges all state agencies to suspend any and all action with regards.
Indiana H 1099 Genetically Engineered Food Provides that, beginning by a specified date, any food that is offered for retail sale is misbranded, for purposes of the law prohibiting the misbranding of food, if the food was or may have been entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and this is not disclosed in a certain manner.
Massachusetts H 761 Labeling of Plant Seeds Relates to the labeling of plant seeds.
Massachusetts H 3242 Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Relates to the labeling of genetically engineered food.
Massachusetts H 4156 Genetic Engineering Transparency Food Label Act Establishes the genetic engineering transparency food labeling act.
Massachusetts S 1158 Liability for Genetically Engineered Food From JOINT Committee on PUBLIC HEALTH: Accompanied Study Order S 2199.
Maine H 292 False Labeling of Marine Organisms This bill requires clear and conspicuous labeling of a marine organism offered for sale if the marine organism is produced using genetic engineering and is labeled with the same name as its nongenetically engineered counterpart. Failure to provide the required labeling is a civil violation.
Maine H 295 Nonalcoholic Malt Beverages Exempts nonalcoholic malt beverages from the disclosure requirements of the laws regulating the labeling of genetically engineered products.
Maine H 686 Genetically Modified Food Products Labeling Law Adopts mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food in order for Maine's law to go into effect.
Maine S 478 Labeling of All Genetically Modified Products This bill defines "genetically modified product," which includes genetically engineered seed stock, products from animals fed genetically engineered food and medicines that were manufactured with genetically engineered plants or animals to the laws regarding the labeling of genetically engineered products. It requires the disclosure of genetic engineering of food, seed stock, products from animals fed genetically engineered food or medicines that were manufactured with genetically.
Michigan HR 89 Genetically Modified Food Resolution Urges the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that establishes a national, uniform, and scientifically‑based label program for genetically modified food.
Michigan SR 59 Food Labeling Resolution Urges the U.S. Congress to enact legislation requiring uniform and science‑based food labeling nationwide.
Minnesota H 351 Commerce Relates to commerce. Provides consumer protection. Requires disclosure of genetically engineered food. Authorizes rulemaking.
Minnesota S 335 Commerce Relates to commerce. Provides consumer protection. Requires disclosure of genetically engineered food. Authorizes rulemaking.
Missouri H 1510 Genetically Modified Food Products Requires all food and food products sold in Missouri that are or contain genetically modified products to be labeled as such.
Missouri HCR 79 Restricted Use of Modern Agricultural Technologies Opposes legislative or regulatory actions that are not based on sound science that may restrict the use of modern agricultural technologies.
Missouri SCR 63 Science Based Data in Agricultural Activities Relates to use of science based data in certain agricultural activities.
Mississippi S 2402 Genetically Engineered Salmon Prohibits the sale, farming, cultivation, incubation or inducement to spawn of Atlantic salmon or genetically engineered fish that may come into contact with or spread contagious diseases to native fish in this state. Authorizes the department of agriculture and commerce to enforce the requirements of this act.
New Hampshire H 1674 Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Requires the labeling of genetically engineered foods and agricultural commodities; 16‑2660 08/05.
New Jersey AR 152 Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act Urges enactment of "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015".
New Jersey S 238 Genetically Modified Food Labels Requires labeling of foods containing genetically modified material.
New Jersey S 1470 Genetically Engineered Food Labels Requires labeling of foods containing genetically engineered material.
New Jersey SR 33 Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 Urges enactment of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015.
New York A 298 Damages for Violation of Patent Establishes an affirmative defense for causes of action related to violation of a patent, trademark or other intellectual property right on grounds that a party possessed or used seeds or plants that contained genetically engineered or genetically modified organisms without entering into an agreement or paying fees to the manufacturer or licensed distributor of such products.
New York A 617 Labeling of Genetic Engineering Products Provides for the labeling of raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, seed, and seed stock produced with genetic engineering. Defines terms. Imposes penalties for false labels and misbranding. Sets forth exemptions.
New York A 641 Labeling of Genetically Engineered Seeds Requires all seeds that are or include genetically engineered organisms to be labeled "These are genetically engineered seeds", and include labeling on the identity of the relevant traits and characteristics introduced into such seed, any requirements for the safe handling, storage, transport and use of the seed, the name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer of the seed and the person who labeled, sells, offers for sale or exposes such seed for sale.
New York A 652 Genetically Modified Organism Registry Establishes a genetically modified organism registry within the department of agriculture and markets. Provides that such registry shall include information on the location, type and use of genetically modified organisms possessed and used by institutions of higher education, and included in seeds sold and distributed in this state.
New York A 1536 Authorized Health Care Professionals Requires authorized health care professionals, before administering a vaccine, to provide patients with information relating to genetically modified organisms, and provide them the option to receive a non‑genetically modified organism vaccine.
New York A 1706 Vaccines Containing Genetically Modified Organisms Bans the use of vaccines containing genetically modified organisms.
New York A 2447 Labeling of Certain Vaccines Relates to the labeling of vaccines containing genetically modified organisms.
New York A 3251 Task Force on Genetically Modified Organisms in Food Creates a task force to monitor and report on the effects of the use of genetically modified organisms in the food supply.
New York A 3407 Study of Genetically Modified Organisms Requires a study of genetically modified organisms and cross pollination, the impact on wildlife, and the effect on human consumption. Requires reporting and recommendations by department of agriculture and markets, DEC, and department of health.
New York A 4205 Labeling of Consumable Commodities Relates to requiring clear and conspicuous labeling of all consumable commodities, including infant formula.
New York A 4233 New York Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act Enacts the "New York Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act".
New York A 5116 Planting and Growing of Genetically Modified Crops Enacts provisions imposing a five year moratorium on the planting and growing of genetically modified crops in New York state and the use of a marketing plan to promote New York state agricultural products; defines "genetically modified crops"; exempts such genetically modified crops planted and grown for the sole purpose of conducting research and not for sale.
New York A 8017 Labeling of Certain Food Products Relates to requiring labeling indicating a food product is free of genetically modified organisms.
New York A 8449 Persons Who Sell Genetically Engineered Plants Requires persons who sell or distribute genetically engineered plants, planting stock or seeds to provide written instructions to purchasers or growers of such stock.
New York S 485 Labeling of Genetically Engineered Products Provides for the labeling of raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, seed, and seed stock produced with genetic engineering; imposes penalties for false labels and misbranding. Provides that any person or entity who violates the requirements shall be liable for a civil penalty; sets forth exemptions.
New York S 3085 Affirmative Defenses for Causes of Actions Establishes an affirmative defense for cause of actions related to violation of a patent, trademark or other intellectual property right on the grounds that a party possessed or used seeds or plants that contain genetically engineered or genetically modified organisms without entering into an agreement or paying fees to the manufacturer or licensed distributor of such products.
New York S 3802 Labeling of Food or Food Products Provides for the labeling of food or food products that contain a genetically engineered material or that are produced with a genetically engineered material. Defines terms. Imposes penalties for false labels and misbranding. Sets forth exemptions.
Ohio H 396 Prohibited Sale of Specified Restricted Species Prohibits the possession, introduction or sale of restricted and prohibited species. Relates to genetically engineered organisms and nonnative species. Authorizes adoption of rules designating additional species, other than plant species, as restricted species and prohibited species. Provides for a risk assessment of aquatic species. Provides for civil penalties, fines and imprisonment for violations; includes knowing and intentional damage to natural, agricultural or silvicultural resources
Oklahoma H 1370 Agriculture Relates to agriculture; defines terms. Requires certain food or seed stock to contain certain labeling. Provides that certain food or seed stock that does not contain certain labeling be considered misbranded. Provides for exceptions. Permits Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to promulgate certain rules; relates to liability.
Oregon H 4122 Label of Genetically Engineered Fish Requires labeling of genetically engineered fish sold or offered for sale for human consumption. Requires labeling of packaged products containing genetically engineered fish and sold or offered for sale for human consumption.
Pennsylvania SR 95 Urges Federal and State Regulatory Agencies Urges federal and state regulatory agencies to utilize science‑based data in evaluating crop protection chemistry and nutrients.
Rhode Island H 5078 Genetically Engineered Food Requires that any genetically engineered foods be labeled as such. This act would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
Rhode Island H 5197 Food and Drugs Would require the labeling of all raw and packaged food that is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering, commencing Jan. 1, 2016. This act would take effect upon passage.
Rhode Island H 5502 Food and Drugs Would require all businesses that sell food and have gross annual sales of more than $500,000, with the exception of restaurants, to post signs that inform their customers that all the products they have offered for sale contain genetically modified organisms, unless there labels say otherwise. This act would take effect upon passage.
Rhode Island H 5587 Milk Sanitation Code Would require that labels or marks on milk or milk products include information disclosing whether such milk or milk product has been genetically engineered or modified. This act would take effect upon passage.
Rhode Island H 7082 Genetically Engineered Foods Requires that any genetically engineered foods be labeled as such.
Rhode Island H 7256 Milk Sanitation Code Would require that labels or marks on milk or milk products include information disclosing whether such milk or milk product has been genetically engineered or modified. This act would take effect upon passage.
Rhode Island H 7274 Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Would require the labeling of all raw and packaged food that is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering, commencing Jan. 1, 2017. This act would take effect upon passage.
Rhode Island S 93 Food and Drugs Would facilitate accurate labeling for food or food products that are produced or made in Rhode Island and consist of or contain genetically modified organisms. It would require the manufacturer or retailer to label such items before putting them on the market for sale in Rhode Island. This act would take effect on July 1, 2016.
Rhode Island S 549 Food and Drugs Would require that all genetically engineered food offered for retail sale in this state contain a label with the disclosure that the food is genetically engineered food. This act would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
Rhode Island S 557 Food and Drugs Would require that all genetically engineered food offered for retail sale in this state contain a label with the disclosure that the food is genetically engineered food, upon the occurrence of four other states adopting similar mandatory labelling laws, as specified in this act. This act would take effect upon passage.
Rhode Island S 2458 Genetically Engineered Food and Drugs Labeling Would require that all genetically engineered food offered for retail sale in this state contain a label with the disclosure that the food is genetically engineered food, upon the occurrence of four other states adopting similar mandatory labeling laws, as specified in this act. This act would take effect upon passage.
Rhode Island S 2459 Genetically Engineered Food and Drugs Labeling Would require that all genetically engineered food offered for retail sale in this state contain a label with the disclosure that the food is genetically engineered food. This act would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
Tennessee H 521 Food and Food Products Relates to Food and Food Products. Authorizes a person, company, or entity to participate in the Non‑GMO Project's product verification program to ensure that the food is not genetically engineered.
Tennessee H 1217 Agriculture Relates to Agriculture. Requires that plants and seeds sold be labeled to indicate open pollination, genetic modification, and hybridization.
Tennessee H 1218 Food and Food Products Relates to Food and Food Products. Enacts the Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act.
Tennessee HJR 218 Statement of Intent or Position Relates to Statement of Intent or Position. Supports use of science‑based data to assess the impacts and regulation of modern agricultural technologies.
Tennessee S 394 Food and Food Products Relates to Food and Food Products. Authorizes a person, company, or entity to participate in the Non‑GMO Projects products verification program to ensure that the food is not genetically engineered
Tennessee S 551 Agriculture Relates to Agriculture. Requires that plants and seeds sold in Tennessee be labeled to indicate open pollination, genetic modification, and hybridization.
Tennessee S 696 Food and Food Products Relates to Food and Food Products; enacts the Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act.
Wyoming D 53 Label Genetically Engineered Items (JOINT RESOLUTION) Requests Congress to enact legislation reaffirming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the primary authority in uniform food labeling related to genetic engineering.
Wyoming HJR 1 Uniform Food Labeling Requests Congress to enact legislation reaffirming the United States Food and Drug Administration as the primary authority in uniform food labeling related to genetic engineering.
Wyoming SJR 4 Request Congress Resolution Requests Congress to enact legislation providing uniform food labeling related to genetic material.