May 16, 2013
Infant Formula Council Seeks GMO Labeling Exemption
Augusta, ME - In a last minute effort to exempt infant formulas from a requirement for labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, the Infant Formula Council of America attempted to insert an amendment exempting their products from a bill pending in the Maine Legislature on Tuesday.
On April 23, 2013, the public hearing for LD 718, An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food, drew nearly 100 people to testify in the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. The bill did not exempt baby formula from labeling at the time of the public hearing. However, earlier this week, the lobbyist for the Infant Formula Council proposed a change to the bill that would eliminate labeling requirements for baby formula even when GMO ingredients are used in the formula.
Proponents of the bill object to the new exception for baby formula. “Of all the foods containing GMOs, baby formula is one of the most important to label,” said Heather Spalding, Interim Executive Director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Representative Lance Harvell (R)-Farmington, lead sponsor of LD 718, agreed. “I cannot understand why, of all things, baby formula should be exempt from GMO labeling,” he said.
This “baby formula exemption” is due to receive a final review along with the entire LD 718 in the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday next week. MOFGA and other supporters of the bill hope to ensure that baby formula is included among the foods that the bill would require to be labeled.