Maine House overwhelmingly supports GMO labeling requirement 141-4 Hot

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UPDATE: 6/12/2013

The Maine Senate has just taken a second vote on the GMO labeling bill aligning itself in absolute concord with the House version. The new vote was unanimous 35-0 for GMO Labeling in the state of Maine. Now, after the first two initial votes out of the 186 member Maine Legislature, only 4 votes have been cast against GMO labeling.

 

(Bangor Daily News) 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 - Rep Craig Hickman

“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.”

Even those who championed genetic engineering in agriculture said they could support requiring those products carry labels.

“The American farmer today can feed the world because we have experimented. We have done research, and hybrid,” said Rep. Bernard Ayotte, R-Caswell. “I’m not against GMO labeling. What I fear is that this bill may lead to the curtailment or stopping of GMO experiments.”

Debate on the House floor largely centered on whether having Maine’s labeling requirement depend on lawmakers in four other states was the best path forward for the requirement to have a realistic chance of taking effect.

Read more at Bangor Daily News

 

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