What would SB411 do?

Passage of SB411 would:

  1. Reduce and prevent consumer confusion and inadvertent deception and promote the disclosure of factual information on food labels;

  2. Create additional market opportunities for New Hampshire producers who are not certified organic producers and whose products are not produced using genetic engineering;

  3. Ensure consumers are provided with data from which they may make informed decisions for personal, health, environmental, religious, cultural or ethical reasons;

  4. Serve as a risk management tool enabling consumers, physicians and scientists to identify unintended health effects resulting from the consumption of genetically engineered foods.

  5. Exempt restaurants, alcoholic beverages and medical food from the disclosure requirement. Also exempt are foods derived from an animal if the animal was not genetically engineered but was fed GE feed.

  6. Forbid genetically engineered foods from being labeled as “natural.”


SB 411 does not ban genetically engineered or genetically modified products; it is a labeling bill.

History of SB411

Senate Bill 411 was introduced into the NH Senate in January 2014. It was been assigned to the Senate Commerce Committee, and then transferred to the Energy & Natural Resources Committee.


The Energy & Natural Resources Committee:

  1. Russell Prescott, Chair: (R-Kingston); (603) 271-3074   
    Senate District 23 includes:  Brentwood, Chester, Danville, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Kingston, and Sandown.

  2. Bob Odell, V-Chair: (R-Lempster); (603) 271-2609
    Senate District 8 includes: Acworth, Antrim, Bennington, Bradford, Croydon, Deering, Francestown, Goshen, Grantham, Hillsborough, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, New London, Newbury, Newport, Springfield, Stoddard, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Washington, Weare, and Windsor.

  3. Jeb Bradley, Majority Leader of the NH State Senate: (R-Wolfeboro); (603) 271-2106
    Senate District 3 includes: Albany, Bartlett, Brookfield, Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Effingham, Freedom, Hale's Location, Hart's Location, Jackson, Madison, Middleton, Milton, Moultonborough, Ossipee, Sandwich, Tamworth, Tuftonboro, Wakefield, Waterville Valley, and Wolfeboro.)

  4. Martha Fuller Clark, Bill sponsor: (D-Portsmouth); 603) 271-3076
    Senate District 21 includes:  Durham, Lee, Madbury, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, and Portsmouth.

  5. Jeff Woodburn: (D-Dalton); (603) 271-3067
    Senate District 1 includes: Atkinson and Gilmanton Academy Grant, Bath, Bean's Grant, Bean's Purchase, Benton, Berlin, Bethlehem, Cambridge, Carroll, Chandler's Purchase, Clarksville, Colebrook, Columbia, Crawford's Purchase, Cutt's Grant, Dalton, Dix's Grant, Dixville, Dummer, Easton, Errol, Erving's Location, Franconia, Gorham, Green's Grant, Hadley's Purchase, Jefferson, Kilkenny, Lancaster, Landaff, Lincoln, Lisbon, Littleton, Livermore, Low and Burbank's Grant, Lyman, Martin's Location, Milan, Millsfield, Monroe, Northumberland, Odell, Pinkham's Grant, Pittsburg, Randolph, Sargent's Purchase, Second College Grant, Shelburne, Stark, Stewartstown, Stratford, Success, Sugar Hill, Thompson and Meserve's Purchase, Thornton, Wentworth Location, Whitefield, and Woodstock. 



The Energy and Natural Resources Committee held the hearing for SB411 on Wednesday, February 12. They held the Executive Session the following day, at which time they discussed the bill, and  then voted unanimously -- 5:0 -- to recommend to the full Senate that the bill be referred for interim study.

The Senate agreed to accept the committee’s recommendation.


What does “refer to interim study” mean?

Senate committees are charged with the responsibility of studying a bill, holding a hearing, and then making a recommendation to the Full Senate. Their recommendation options are:

  1. OTP (ought to pass)

  2. OTPA (Ought to pass as amended)

  3. ITL (Inexpedient to legislate; kill the bill)

  4. Refer to interim study

  5. Table the bill. (Suspend indefinitely, to block future bills)


Refer to Interim Study means that the Senators believe this topic is worth pursuing. This recommendation kills the bill for further action, but it allows the Senate to continue to study options for labeling GE foods. Next session, after elections, we will be able to introduce a stronger bill for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.


While we would prefer that a GMO labeling law pass in NH immediately, we recognize that even it the Senate had passed SB411, it would still have had to be approved by the NH House, just a few weeks after they voted down HB660. The vote by the House on HB660 indicates that SB411 would have difficulty getting passed. By referring SB411 to interim study, the dialog remains open.


We should celebrate all of our progress in the last six months and use this time to continue educating the public and our elected officials on the unintended consequences of GMOs. We knew this would not be an easy fight, but we are not going to give up.


The more time we have, the stronger our movement becomes as more and more New Hampshire residents and legislators learn about what has happened to our food supply. Let us take this opportunity to spread out across the state, and build a stronger base.




And, with elections coming up, we need to make the labeling of Genetically Engineered foods a hot issue. We will be in a much better position to follow in the steps of Connecticut and Maine, and several other states that have a good chance of passing between now and then.


Next fall a new bill will be introduced, which will have a good chance of passing when it is heard a year from now. This means that the labeling of genetically engineered foods in New Hampshire is still ALIVE.


Thank you and congratulations to all of you on our success. As we move toward an election year there is no doubt GMO labeling will be a topic discussed on the campaign trail. Let's be sure to hold our elected officials accountable for their votes on GMO labeling this year. We need to elect legislators who will represent the people of this state rather than corporations trying to keep us in the dark about what we are eating. Stay strong, New Hampshire … We can do it! WE WILL PREVAIL!

What is SB 411?

Senate Bill 411, “Relative to the labeling of genetically engineered foods” is a pending law that will require the labeling of genetically engineered or genetically modified organisms sold in New Hampshire.

SB411 would bring New Hampshire in line with other New England states that have passed, or are working on, similar legislation. Connecticut and Maine have passed labeling bills, as has the Vermont House. (Vermont’s Senate will be voting on their bill in early 2014.) Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as more than half of the other states, are working on similar legislation. More than 60 other countries already require labeling.

Sponsors of SB411 are:

  1. Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth); Senate District 21 (Durham, Lee, Madbury, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, and Portsmouth)

  2. Senator David Watters (D-Dover); Senate District 4 (Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford and Somersworth)

  3. Representative Peter Bixby (D-Dover); Strafford District 17

  4. Representative David Murotake, (R-Nashua); Hillsborough District 32

  5. Representative Donald LeBrun (R-Nashua); Hillsborough District 32


The text of SB411 can be viewed at:
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2014/SB0411.html

  http://tinyurl.com/NHRTK-Volunteer