April 18, 2013

Legislature to address genetically modified foods

Morning Sentinel Staff

The vast majority of Maine people want to know if the food they eat contains genetically modified organisms.

A recent Maine poll conducted by PanAtlanticSMS Group in Portland found that 91.1 percent of Maine people want food that contains genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such. This number seems unbelievably high until it is compared with 11 national polls that confirm at least 75 percent of Americans agree.

On Tuesday, the Legislature's Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Committee will consider a bill that would require food that contains GMOs to be labeled.

Submitted by Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, and Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville, this bill (L.D. 718) mirrors what is in effect in 61 countries and is also being considered in 31 other states.

The proposal protects Maine farmers by providing exemptions for meat, eggs and dairy products where the animals are fed genetically modified grains.

It also protects Maine merchants by requiring that a similar bill be enacted in at least five states before Maine's bill would go into effect.

This proposal is endorsed by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and more than 120 businesses and farms.

The hearing about the bill will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at 214 Cross Office Building, beside the State House. Interested people also can let their legislators know how they feel about genetically modified organisms.

Chris and Patti Hamilton

Barred Owl Creamery


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