Maine has become the second U.S. state in as many weeks to pass a bill that would require food retailers to identify genetically modified foods with specific labels.
The Democratic-led state Senate approved the bill last Wednesday in a 141 to 4 vote. It now goes onto the House and Senate for approval.
“This is a huge step forward,” Heather Spalding, interim director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Associate, told the New York Daily News. “This bill has broad appeal, and is about consumers’ right to know what’s in their food.”
Similar to the bill that also just passed in Connecticut, Maine’s bill would not become “law” until several other states also passed similar bills, including New Hampshire, which shares a border with Maine.
Currently, a number of US states have GMO labeling initiatives up for consideration. California was expected to be the first state to pass a GMO-labeling bill last November, but the measure, Proposition 37 was narrowly defeated. The biotech industry funded the campaigns that referred to GMO labeling bills as “costly food label bills.”
Monsanto, the primary target of anti-GMO activists, states on its website “We oppose current initiatives to mandate labeling of ingredients developed from GM seeds in the absence of any demonstrated risks.” The company says, “Such mandatory labeling could imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts.”
More than 60 countries around the world currently have regulations on genetically modified foods and more than 20 have banned all or some types of GMOs.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: andres musta