In 2013, Maine passed a law that would require foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled, but the law would only go into effect if four other nearby states also pass labeling laws. Now, some legislators in Maine want GMO labeling to kick in sooner. Today, they proposed a new law that would remove the requirement that relies on other states.
Connecticut has passed a law with a similar “trigger clause,” which requires other states to mandate labeling to go into effect. Vermont passed a labeling law without a trigger clause, which is scheduled to go into effect by July 1, 2016. Maine would need New Hampshire and Massachusetts for its current labeling law to go into effect. New York State is also considering legislation to label GMOs, which would not include a trigger.
Maine’s bill was introduced today by Democratic Rep. Michelle Dunphy, and also has support from some state Republicans, the AP reports. GMO labeling laws have failed in a number of states, including Washington, California, Oregon and Colorado.
“We believe that Maine is ready to lead the nation and adopt this common-sense requirement to ensure that we have a choice in the types of foods we decide to feed to our children,” said Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association and a Maine resident, in a press statement.
Opponents of labeling laws say they create unnecessary fear among consumers, and that state-by-state labeling requirements could increase the cost of food. The Grocery Manufacturers Association has historically opposed pro-labeling bills (the association did not respond immediately for comment).
Consumers who wish to avoid consuming genetically engineered foods can do so by buying certified organic products, which are required by law to contain no GMO ingredients.