Maine is the next state to introduce legislation that would require genetically modified food to be labeled in the state. Maine’s House passed a bill, LD 718, on Tuesday, that would require GM foods to carry labels that state “Produced with Genetic Engineering.” The bill had 120 co-sponsors. The bill’s primary sponsor was Rep. Lance Harvell, (R-Farmington).
An amendment to the bill would require the law to take effect once four other contiguous states pass similar laws. The vote for the amendment was overwhelmingly supportive with 141-4 in favor of the amendment. The original bill would have only 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.
The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote and is up for an addition vote in the House.
The biggest debate in the House over this bill focused on if having four other states pass similar legislation before Maine was beneficial. Other Northeastern states have included in their legislation that other or contiguous states have to pass similar legislation before the original state’s law goes into effect. Legislators are adding that caveat to legally counteract potential lawsuits from biotechnology and food manufacturers, the state lawmakers say.
“We understand there are some legal concerns,” Rep. Amy Volk, (R-Scarborough) was quoted as saying. “Allowing us to be part of a consortium of other states would help defray some of those costs and send a message to the federal government.”
Other states considering similar GM labeling laws include Connecticut and Vermont.