AUGUSTA –– State lawmakers will renew discussion Thursday on whether Maine should begin requiring labels on food containing genetically modified organisms rather than wait for four other Northeastern states to act.

In 2014, the Legislature passed a law that would require food manufacturers to label products made with genetically engineered ingredients – also called genetically modified organisms, or GMOs – once five contiguous states passed similar laws. Three other New England states have acted, but New Hampshire would have to pass a similar requirement in order to the GMO labeling clause to take effect in Maine.

Members of the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee will once again take up a proposal that would remove the five-state trigger language, thereby allowing Maine to begin requiring labeling. The bill was held over from last year’s legislative session, so there is no public hearing.

Food manufacturers, agribusiness and biotechnology companies have opposed GMO labeling. Even if the bill passes, it would have to get by a potential veto from Gov. Paul LePage. While LePage signed the 2014 bill into law, his administration testified against removing the five-state trigger clause over concerns that it could disrupt food supplies into Maine from major food suppliers.

This story will be updated.


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