The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is delighted by the confirmation that Governor Paul LePage has signed LD 718 - An Act To Protect Maine Food Consumers' Right To Know about Genetically Engineered Food.
The news came soon after MOFGA delivered to the Governor hundreds of postcards encouraging the prompt signing of the bill requiring labeling of foods produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which passed both chambers of the Legislature last year with overwhelming bipartisan support. Time ran out in the legislative session of 2013, but Governor LePage pledged to sign the bill upon reconvening in January.
"We are thrilled that Governor LePage has signed the GMO labeling bill," said MOFGA Executive Director Ted Quaday. "MOFGA supporters have worked tirelessly, organizing five different legislative campaigns on this issue since the early 1990s. The time was right for a diverse and collaborative effort to take hold and move the discussion forward. People want and have the right to know what's in their food."
With the governor's signature, Maine becomes the second state in the country to adopt labeling requirements for foods derived from genetically modified crops and animals. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed the nation's first comprehensive GMO food labeling law on June 25th. Connecticut and Maine's legislation both require four neighboring states to pass similar legislation before the laws take effect. LePage asserted that it was in Maine's best interests to let Connecticut go first.
Right to Know legislative campaigns are active in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. MOFGA is working with its sister organization, the Northeast Organic Farming Association - New Hampshire, to pass parallel legislation in the granite state, a requirement for Maine's law to go into effect.
"We could never have come this far without the engagement of scientists, constitutional law experts, medical professionals, farmers, restaurateurs, natural foods retailers and other business owners, students, ecologists, people of faith, parents and members of all political parties," said Heather Spalding, MOFGA's deputy director. "And we owe a special thanks to the leadership of Representative Lance Harvell and Senator Chris Johnson who worked tirelessly to educate policy makers and ensure unanimous legislative support for labeling of GMO foods."
MOFGA will celebrate Maine's adoption of the GMO labeling bill on Tuesday, January 14th, at 1:30 p.m. in the Hall of Flags at the State Capitol. All are welcome to participate.