Augusta- People rallied outside the Statehouse today, claiming they have the right to know what’s in their food. They say GMO’s, are unwanted, and that manufacturers shouldn’t get away with hiding them from consumers. Grocery store owners, however, have their own set of concerns.
“I think labeling GMO’s is critical for so many reasons, but i think as a mom and a consumer, we have the right to know. We have the right to know what’s in our food and the right to make the choice to purchase it or not,” said Representative Michelle Dunphy, the sponsor of the bill.
A large turnout in Augusta today, in support of LD- 991. According to Dunphy, a recent survey showed 97% of consumers want GMO’s to be labeled on their food.
But while some people, like the people behind me, are excited about the potential to pass this bill, there are others that are strongly against GMO labeling.
“The impact for Maine grocery stores in Maine is going to be significant, because, make no mistake, distributors and wholesalers who distribute products into the state of Maine are either going to forgo distributing into Maine, the manufacturers are not necessarily going to label specifically for a Maine market, so those products will not be imported into Maine or they’ll say, ‘we’ll import the products, but you distributor, you grocery store, you’re responsible for complying with Maine law,’” said Shelley Doak, the executive director of the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association.
A similar measure passed last session but was contingent on other states in New England passing a similar bill. Doak believes if Maine passes this law on it’s own, distributors are less likely to make changes. A public hearing was held this afternoon, and a work session will be held in the coming months.