St. Petersburg, Florida – A bill that would have required companies to label genetically modified foods in Florida will likely not be heard in this legislative session and it has some supporters questioning the motives behind the move.
"As a mother, I don't want to feed my children genetically modified food," said Dessa Stone-Pividal, a natural health professional in Tampa.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Jeremey Ring of District 29, who represents a majority portion of Broward County. It would require manufacturers, processors, packers, distributors, and retail food stores to label foods that are genetically modified organisms or GMOs.
"We're not trying to ban anything. We're just saying label it," said Sen. Ring. "Give parents or families a choice and give consumers a choice."
SB 558 was in the agriculture committee when Chairman Bill Montford pulled it from the agenda without it being reviewed by fellow committee members and no one is sure why.
10 News has reached out to Sen. Montford's office several times over the past two days but hasn't gotten a response. Bill supporters are reporting a similar problem.
Many report that comments made on Montford's senate Facebook page requesting a status update on the bill have been removed.
A search of campaign finance records shows the senator accepted campaign donations from Monsanto, a leading genetically engineered food company, back in 2012.
"Our next move is to get heard in a committee and start the debate. I think this bill is critical. The issue is critical to debate in a legislative process like this," said Sen. Ring.
Healthy eating advocates question the effects of genetically modified foods due to inadequate long-term studies.
For its part, Monsanto counters those who allege its food is unsafe. "GMO crops undergo more testing and oversight than any other agricultural products, and, the safety of biotech crops is well-established by hundreds of studies and years of real-world experience," the company said.
You can read about four common genetically engineered ingredients in our food and three ways to avoid them below: