State Rep. Tony Hwang (R-134) joined with advocates, parents and legislators from across the state in a celebration of the Gov. Dannel Malloy’s public bill signing of landmark legislation requiring the labeling of genetically-engineered foods and creates best practices for GMO farming.

Hwang, who spearheaded legislative grassroots action, worked closely with GMO Free CT advocates to push this historic legislation through the General Assembly in a bipartisan manner. The ceremonial bill signing took place at the ‘Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe’ in downtown Fairfield.

Hwang said, “This GMO labeling campaign is the definition of a community collaborative effort. I volunteered to GMO Free CT nearly 2 year ago that I would be one of their voices in Hartford and help in a bipartisan manner to shepherd this bill through the legislative process. I am honored to have helped in the process. I want to thank Tara Cook-Littman, Amanda Wendt and the grassroots advocates for their tireless determination.”

Tara Cook-Littman said, “I am proud that Connecticut is the catalyst for GMO labeling in the United States. I want to thank our leaders at the State Capitol for hearing us and giving us a voice in Hartford. Rep. Tony Hwang was instrumental in helping us negotiate the legislative process and encouraged me to believe that our advocacy could be successful despite overwhelming obstacles and challenges. He encouraged me to believe that we as public citizens can make a positive difference."

Amanda Wendt, a Trumbull resident, shared her perspective

“Part of being an advocate or activist is building relationships with your elected officials,” Wendt said. “Tony is my representative and has also become a friend in this process. And today when most of the hoopla was over, he gave me my very own signed copy of the bill. I got a little emotional as it was something I never expected could even happen. But that moment summed up for me this entire experience. People make the difference. How we treat each other, how we conduct ourselves, how we voice our opinions respectfully and how we are in turn heard. Working together, we can all make a positive difference.”

Hwang reinforced the philosophical perspective beyond the food science debate.

“This bill moves forward and reinforces our fundamental right to know what is in our food so we can make informed choices about what we feed our families,” Hwang said. “Consumers may or may not wish to purchase foods that they know to be genetically modified, but they need the information made available to them to make those informed choices. This bill would require labels provide that information to consumers and allow the marketplace to decide, not governmental or copyright protection against individual freedom of choice.”

The towns of Fairfield and Trumbull became the birthplace of the state-wide GMO Free (http://gmofreect.org/ ) movement with grass-root activists and concerned parents who believed proper labeling of food was important for transparency, sustainability, and for the futures of their children. GMO Free CT’s Tara Cook-Littman and other GMO Free advocates were in attendance for the ceremonial bill signing.

Neither the Federal government, nor any other state in the nation has a labeling requirement that applies to all genetically modified foods. It is currently under consideration in a number of legislative bodies throughout the United States. The measure does not take a position that genetically modified foods are good or bad; the bill is simply about giving information to consumers.