The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

New York is a central battleground in national debate over genetically modified food labeling

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ALBANY, N.Y. - Agricultural, food and beverage companies are spending millions of dollars to defeat legislation to require labels on food containing genetically modified crops in New York, highlighting the state's pivotal role in debates about what Americans should know about the products they consume.

Supporters argue people should know if food contains GMO ingredients.

Opponents say GMOs are safe and that labels will increase prices while unnecessarily frightening consumers. A study shows they've spent $3.7 million on campaign donations and lobbying to block the measure — seven times what supporters have spent.

Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have labeling laws, but the Connecticut and Maine laws won't be enacted until other states follow suit. If New York requires labels, Connecticut's law would automatically take effect.

Lawmakers haven't set a vote on the measure.

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