Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Maine House Overwhelmingly Supports GMO Labeling Requirements

Posted June 11, 2013, at 1:58 p.m.
Last modified June 11, 2013, at 7:47 p.m. 
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House took a step Tuesday toward requiring genetically modified food products carry special labels. If the measure ultimately becomes law, its success will depend on action taken by lawmakers in four nearby states.

The Maine House voted to support a bill, LD 718, that would require genetically modified food products carry labels that state “Produced with Genetic Engineering.” The 141-4 vote was in favor of an amendment that would have the labeling requirement take effect once four other contiguous states pass similar laws.

The bill originally would have taken effect if five other states anywhere in the United States passed similar legislation or any combination of states with a total population of at least 20 million.

“It does not make Maine an outlier,” said Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, the bill’s primary sponsor.

The measure now faces votes in the Senate and an additional vote in the House.

During debate on the House floor Tuesday, there was little disagreement about the value of labeling genetically modified food products.

“The consumers have a right to know,” said Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop. “The people want to know what’s in their food, and they want to be able to make a choice that’s right.”

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