September 21, 2015
Testimony submitted by Martin E. Levin to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture of the Massachusetts State Legislature
I have been practicing law in Massachusetts, in the public and private sectors, for over thirty years. I am writing in support of House bill No. 3242, “An Act Establishing the Genetic Engineering Transparency Food and Seed Labeling Act” (“House 3242”). The current regulatory system leaves Massachusetts families without reason to rely on regulatory judgments about or protection against possible health risks associated with certain genetically engineered (“GE”) foods, and yet denies Massachusetts families the information necessary to make those judgments for themselves.
As explained in greater detail below, the principle GE food products that have been made commercially available are composed of plants that have been engineered for pesticide-related traits, and there is sound scientific evidence indicating that this technology has increased incidence of pesticides in the plants that are being introduced into our foods. The present regulatory system puts pre-market review and judgments about the potential health effects of these GE plants largely in the hands of the developers of the plants, who have a significant economic incentive to insure that the products are brought to market.