By Morgan Rogers

June 13, 2013

A genetically modified organisms (GMO) labeling bill passed in the Maine legislature Wednesday, making it the second state, after Connecticut, to put a bill forward that would require food products to be labeled if they contain GMOs.

Maine’s House of Representatives approved LD 718 with 141 to 4 vote on Tuesday. The state’s Senate passed an GMO bill after amendments unanimously Wednesday. The differences between the two bills are currently being negotiated and will require further votes in the House and Senate before going to Governor Le Page for his signature.

The GMO labeling bill will not go into effect until two other Northeastern states enact labeling laws. New Hampshire and New York are currently considering GMO labeling legislation.

“This is a huge step forward,” Heather Spalding, interim director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Associate, told the New York Daily News. “This bill has broad appeal, and is about consumers’ right to know what’s in their food.”

Nearly 75 percent of processed foods in grocery stores contain GMOs. 95.5 percent of Mainers want the right to know if their food contains GMOs while 91.1 percent support the requirement of labeling food that contains GMOS.

“We oppose current initiatives to mandate labeling of ingredients developed from GM seeds in the absence of any demonstrated risks,” Monsanto says on its website.

Monsanto does all the safety testing of their genetically modified seeds by conducting 90-day animal feeding studies. They have reported no risks. The few independent studies done outside of Monsanto’s labs have come back with different results, according to Logan Perkins of Maine Organic Farmers Growers Association, (MOFGA).

62 countries, including all of Europe, label food products that contain GMOs. Similar GMO labeling legislation is being introduced to 28 states this year, according to Stamford Times.