Howling Hill: Activist

Poached in its entirety from Maggie Mae Farm I wanted to pass these important notices along.

The first bill, HB 1172, pertains to the labeling of GMO’s. If passed, it would require any genetically modified seed or organism to be labeled with the following information:

  • the identity and traits of the organism, plus any requirements for its safe handling, storage, transport, and use
  • the name, address and point of contact for both the manufacturer and distributor
  • the conspicuously printed words: “Contains genetically modified seeds or organisms.”
  • What a novel and fantastic idea – score one for the home team! I’m a huge advocate of this bill because it puts the decision to use or not to use GMO’s directly in the hand of the grower. It gives us back the power of choice, something I believe is our unquestionable right.

    The second bill, HB 1388, is a bit more in depth but also very exciting. First and foremost, the proposed bill provides a definition of genetically modified seeds and organisms that states GMO’s are “any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology… that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection.”

    To have a definition of GMO’s on the books that includes seeds and organisms is critical. It sets a legal precedent that future petitioners can use as a yardstick. I also am pleased that they are seeking a broad definition that encompasses not just plant life, but all living organisms. This essentially allows for legislation to include genetically modified livestock as well.

    The second half of the proposed bill relates to Private Action.

  • When label information regarding the genetic characteristics, the safety, the adverse effects, or the directions for use is omitted or misrepresented it shall be considered an unfair or deceptive act.
  • Any farmer or gardener who sustains injury or damage through any person’s use of a crop that had an omitted or misrepresented GMO label may sue for damages.
  • Any farmer or gardener “whose seed or crop becomes commingled, admixed or otherwise adulterated by any means with a genetically modified seed or organism” may sue any person who contributed to the damages.
  • The quoted text in the third bullet point is the actual wording of the bill. This is an amazing point and fingers crossed that it goes through. Gene flow—also called migration—is the natural movement of genes from one population to another that happens all the time. Pollen drift occurs when the pollen (containing the genetically modified material) is transported any distance by wind, water, gravity and insect or animal distribution. Large biotechnology firms have repeatedly and successfully sued farmers for theft of intellectual property when their patented genomes have inadvertently contaminated non-GMO crops through natural methods. However, according to this bill, farmers whose crops have been contaminated with GMO would be entitled to compensation. To have legislation that favors the grower over multi-billion dollar industry is an enormous step in the journey to stabilize our food systems.

    Thursday, January 28, 10-11 AM. NH Legislative Office Building (commonly called The LOB) Room 308.
    HB 1278-FN

    Help NH Farmers provide raw milk directly off the farm!

    This entry was posted in Politic/ians, Seeds. Bookmark the permalink.

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