Jeremy Ring Sponsors GMO-Labeling Bill in Florida Senate

Categories: Ethical Eating

For the most part, Florida is not known for being a progressive state.

We mean, how many times have we heard our Confederate-loving brethren in the northern part of our jurisdiction want to secede from the union?

In case you forgot: It happened in the wake of Obama's reelection just over a year ago.

It looks like there may be some progress in terms of liberal -- or even libertarian policy -- as Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Broward County) recently sponsored a genetically modified organism (GMO) mandatory labeling initiative.

See Also: GMO Experts Jeffrey Smith and Michael Hansen Coming to South Florida for Panel Discussions

Senate Bill 558 calls for mandatory labeling on all products by manufacturers, processors, packers, distributors, and retail food stores that contain GMO or genetically engineered (GE) foods.

The bill must pass through the Agriculture, Commerce and Tourism, Regulated Industries, and Community Affairs committees to make it into law.

If passed, the bill would be effective on July 1, 2014.

It is currently up for review in the Agriculture Committee.

While Ring has aired his concern about passage of the bill -- in an interview with the Sarasota Herald Tribune, he said, "Clearly it's a challenging issue, and I wouldn't guarantee its passage; I certainly hope it gets a fair hearing and debate" -- activists are optimistic.

"I think it's really exciting," said Trish Sheldon of GMO Free Florida. "We have a really strong push here in Florida. Since Connecticut passed, Maine passed, and Hawaii enacted restrictions, we're hoping Florida is the next to go; it's really encouraging."

S.B. 558 is companion to Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda's House Bill 1 in the House of Representatives.

See Also: Florida House GMO Labeling Bill Gaining Support by Senators

Rehwinkel Vasilinda's H.B. 1, also referred to as "Truth in Labeling," calls for mandatory labeling of all GMO foods; it would require that, by January 1, 2016, all food sold in Florida retail outlets that is wholly or partially produced with genetic modified ingredients must have a label indicating so.

Mandatory labeling initiatives were filed in both the House and Senate last year, but neither made it to committee.

Already S.B. 558 has surpassed that benchmark.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.

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I wish you well Florida in passing this legislation. The "science" activists have had too much control and the population of the US has been too complacent. GMO need to labelled (mandatory), have independent studies performed by NIH & strict regulations for environmental and health reasons. Let start the process of implementing federal regulations, and all states need to initially mandate these laws to get the attention of our government.


It is sad that activists have be ship in profiting authors and paid advocates to talk to Floridians about this important issue.  Florida's university system is filled with true experts in science that understand the concepts. If Senator Ring wants "fair hearing and debate" then perhaps those understanding the facts and ramifications might be invited to the discussion. The state's scientists have not been consulted or invited to participate in these discussions around food safety and labeling, yet in a huge ag state, it is what we do!  

Look who is promoting this-- GMO Free Florida.  It is an anti-corporate activist organization, hardly a cohort of Florida's best scientific minds. 

Smith and Hansen's appearances are not scientific forums. They are pep rallies for activists to cultivate fear around sound technology.  Senator Ring is not responding to science and reason, he has capitulated to fear. 

We work for you, Florida.  Reach out to a UF scientists and others throughout the state.  Ask about the consensus, what AAAS and NAS say about GM crops.  You'll feel much better, and we can spend valuable legislative time finding solutions to real problems in our state. Thanks. If you have questions, I'm always here too  kevinfolta at gmail 


@kevinfolta  This bill is not about a GMO free florida , it"s about an educated florida. As a scientist you know it's important to have labels. This is simply a label, this bill is not about banning it's about a simple label that educates you as to what product you are buying as important as to where it came from.

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