In early January 2014, Governor Paul LePage signed into law LD 718 - An Act To Protect Maine Food Consumers' Right To Know about Genetically Engineered Food.
The law is the result of decades of organizing, research, citizen lobbying and all-around collaboration among people from all walks of Maine life. In fact, this was the fifth of MOFGA's campaigns to require labeling of foods produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Maine is the second state in the country to adopt labeling requirements for foods derived from GMO crops and animals. Connecticut adopted the first law in June 2013. Connecticut and Maine's legislation both require four neighboring states to pass similar legislation before the laws take effect.
So, what's happening in the neighboring states?
- Massachusetts - The Massachusetts Legislature is considering a mandatory labeling bill. MA Right To Know GMOs is the campaign organizer.
- New Hampshire - Narrowly missed passage of a GMO labeling bill in 2014. Preparing for the next legislative session. NOFA - New Hampshire is the campaign organizer.
- New Jersey - The New Jersey Legislature is considering a mandatory labeling bill. Right To Know GMOs NJ is the campaign organizer.
- New York - The New York Legislature is considering a mandatory labeling. GMO Free NY is the campaign organizer.
- Rhode Island - The Rhode Island Legislature has held a labeling bill for further study. Right To Know GMOs Rhode Island is the campaign organizer.
- Vermont - The Vermont Senate and House have both voted separately and overwhelmingly in support of GMO labeling. The two legislative chambers are working out differences in their versions of the bill, and hope to send a finalized bill to the governor for signing soon. Vermont's bill has no requirement for neighboring states to pass similar legislation, which would mean that Vermont would become the first state to require labeling of GMO foods - tentatively scheduled to take effect in July 2016. Vermont Right To Know GMOs is the campaign organizer.
Efforts to establish mandatory labeling of GMO foods are under way across the country. Food Democracy Now is a wonderful and comprehensive resource for staying abreast of state and federal campaigns.