Politicians and consumer protection advocates are calling for more regulations on genetically modified organisms.
The Committee on Consumer Affairs in the State Assembly heard testimony on a bill requiring all foods made with GMOs to be labeled as such.
GMOs are used to help crops grow larger and resist diseases, but activists say there have been no long-term studies on potential negative health and environmental effects, and that consumers should have the right to choose.
"There's a long list of concerns people have about genetic engineering, but it's hard to avoid the food if it's not labeled, so this is a first step to let people decide for themselves if they want to eat it," said Patty Lovera of Food and Water Watch.
"As consumers, we have a fundamental right to know what we're eating, and that's what we're being denied," said Max Goldberg, an organic food activist. "When we don't have a label, we don't know what's in our food."
"They want to know if it's genetically modified organisms or not," said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan. "So I aim to pass this bill in the legislature to protect people's right to know."
Critics say there is no conclusive proof that GMOs lead to health problems, pointing out that 90 percent of all food produced is made with them.
Rosenthal says she's hopeful lawmakers will vote on the labeling bill at the next legislative session in January.