(NaturalHealth365) Earlier this month Maine positioned itself to become the 2nd state in the United States to pass GMO labeling laws. After the state’s House of Representatives approved LD 718 on June 11 by a vote of 141 to 4, the Senate unanimously approved a similar version of the bill on the June 12. It has been reported that once differences are ironed out between the two measures, the final bill will head to Gov. Paul LePage’s desk.
Like Connecticut’s compromise bill, however, Maine’s law will not take into effect until four states pass similar legislation. Specifically, since one must border Maine, GMO labeling in Maine is completely contingent on New Hampshire following suit. Nonetheless, the bill titled “An Act To Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right To Know about Genetically Engineered Food and Seed Stock” is another monumental step toward national and global GMO labeling.
Maine Senator speaks out
It is reported by Bangor Daily News that Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Somerville) said on the floor during heated debates that although health hazards caused by GMOs or seed stock have not been proven, there are significant causes for concern that they exist. Despite the opposition that continues to cite biased research supposedly proving that GMOs are safe, Johnson insists, “People can only manage their risk when they know what they are buying. Everyone has a right to decide for themselves about the food they buy and what they feed their families.”
Which state is next? The Northeast is moving!
Nationwide, it has been reported that similar legislation has been introduced in 28 states this year. The New York Daily News reports that Vermont’s legislature is still debating whether to adopt its own law after the House became the first legislative body in the country to pass a GMO labeling bill earlier this spring.
According to Boston’s NPR news station, “Two legislative committees are considering the GMO labeling bills in Massachusetts and both recently held public hearings, but none of the bills have come up for a vote yet.”
Know thy enemy…
WBUR’s All Things Considered recently interviewed Ed Stockman from the group Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs, and executive vice president for government affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association Louis Finkel.
When asked why there is such significant momentum to label GMOs in Mass., Stockman answered,
Well, it’s an issue whose time has really come. People are very concerned about what’s going on in the food industry in this country, and if these foods and crops were so good, like the biotech lobbyists tell us, you’d think they’d want to have them labeled. You’d think they would want to tout the fact that a particular processed food has GMO ingredients. Sixty-four nations of the world label or ban GMOs from their countries. There are only two industrialized nations that do not require labeling: the United States and Canada. And my question is, what do those other 64 nations know that Americans are not allowed to know?
In response, to explain why Grocery Manufactures Association was still against GMO labeling Finkel answered:
Let’s start with fact that this is prevalent, it’s been in marketplace for 20 years, and we’ve seen no health impacts — that, effectively, the technology is safe. And this isn’t me saying this. This is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is the American Medical Association. This is the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This is the World Health Organization — that genetically engineered ingredients provide no material difference from their conventional counterparts and, as such, putting a label will be inherently misleading and confusing to consumers.
According to Finkel,
There’s no material difference between conventional corn and genetically engineered corn, conventional soy and genetically engineered soy. They perform the same in our products. They provide no safety or health risks. And the nutritional content and the ingredient information provided on a package is to give consumers a clear picture of what’s in their products and if they have anything to be concerned about, like allergens.
What can be said of all of this? Keep pushing!
It is obvious that the momentum is behind the GMO labeling movement. Just this past week, the Mexican food chain, Chipotle, became the first U.S. restaurant chain to label all ingredients that contain GMOs.
We must continue to press on. Contact your local Senator today and demand that you want them to pass a bill mandating GMO labeling and help us spread the news. Share this article with your family and friends.
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