MOFGA is a member of the
Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) marked the start of the state legislative session today with a visit to Governor LePage's office to remind him of his pledge to sign Maine's GMO labeling bill, LD 718.
The bill was overwhelmingly approved by both chambers of the Legislature last year. The governor declined to act on the bill when it was passed but wrote a letter pledging to sign the bill into law in January.
"January has arrived, the Legislature is back in session. It's time for the governor to make good on his promise to the citizens of Maine," said MOFGA Executive Director Ted Quaday.
Quaday led a contingent of Right to Know advocates to the governor's office, where he delivered more than 500 handwritten postcards from people calling on the governor to sign the bill.
An opinion poll conducted when the measure was debated revealed that 91 percent of the state's citizens supported labeling of foods made from genetically modified (also called genetically engineered) ingredients.
MOFGA board member Sam May of Portland was a key strategist during the legislative debate, and he joined others at the governor's office today.
"An overwhelming majority of Mainers support the right to know about GMOs in our food," said May. "Both the House and Senate approved the measure by near unanimous votes. The people have made it abundantly clear that they want these foods labeled. It's time for the governor to sign and deliver."
MOFGA led the coalition that gained approval of the labeling measure, and other groups, including the Maine Farm Bureau, joined in.
Maine Farm Bureau Executive Director Jon Olson confirmed his organization's support for the bill. "The voting delegates at our annual meeting voted to support LD 718," said Olson.
In his letter pledging support, LePage wrote, "I deeply appreciate the strong public sentiment behind the bill and agree that consumers should have the right to know what is in their food. Additionally, my support for the bill is based in large part on the requirement in the bill that similar legislation be enacted and passed in other contiguous states."
Right to Know legislative campaigns are active in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Connecticut passed a GMO labeling requirement last year.