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Rep. Dunphy leads group urging Congress to reject anti-labeling measure

Federal law would undermine states’ ability to require labeling of genetically modified organisms

October 13, 2015

 Rep. Dunphy

AUGUSTA – Rep. Michelle Dunphy is spearheading the opposition to a federal measure that would undermine states’ ability to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

Dunphy, D-Old Town, authored an open letter urging Congress to oppose any proposed federal law that would preempt state laws requiring labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The letter was signed by 95 state lawmakers from across the country who have sponsored or supported state measures to require such disclosure.

“Mainers have a right to know what is in the food we feed our families. The vast majority of Maine citizens support labeling food with genetically modified ingredients so we can make informed decisions. Congress should not interfere with the rights of Mainers and other Americans who want to address their food safety concerns through state law,” said Dunphy, who is sponsor of a pending bill that would require labeling in Maine.

Dunphy’s measure builds on a 2013 law that requires genetically modified organisms to be labelled in food and seed products, but only if four other contiguous states pass similar measures first. LD 991 would repeal the trigger, which would make labels mandatory at the time the law goes into effect.
Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield wrote to Maine lawmakers in support of Dunphy’s measure earlier this year.

“Just like labels that require disclosure of farm-raised salmon or orange juice from concentrate, labeling of GE [genetically engineered] food will provide consumers the information they need to make choices for themselves and their families,” Greenfield said, adding that his company makes frequent changes to labeling and could easily accommodate such a law.

Dunphy’s letter references H.R. 1599, the so-called Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed in July. While the U.S. Senate’s version of the bill has not yet been introduced, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a hearing on federal regulation of agriculture later this month.

Dunphy is serving her first term in the Maine House. She is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee and represents Old Town and Penobscot Indian Island.

Contact:

Ann Kim [Dunphy], c. 233-1838