Posted March 13, 2014
 
The Maryland Senate recently held a hearing to debate a bill that would require manufacturers to label genetically engineered foods (GE), according to an article by the Frederick News-Post available here.
 
The bill, SB 778, would require specified raw foods and packaged foods that are wholly or partially produced with genetically engineering to display a label beginning on July 1, 2015. 
 
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Karen Montgomery, said that while genetic modification is “not all evil,” shoppers “have a right to information about the food in their shopping carts.” 
 
Others say identifying food as genetically engineered is not necessary, because no scientific evidence suggests GE foods are harmful, according to Earl F. “Buddy” Hance, Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture.

Colby Ferguson, government relations director for the Maryland Farm Bureau, said, “We feel that this bill is a way to limit GMO crops as well as create a negative stigma on GMO foods.”
 
Nonetheless, some consumers argue that labels give them a choice, according to a CBS Baltimore article available here.  “Definitely, I would want to know that.  I’ve been looking into this and I think it’s deceiving to the public,” said shopper Laurie McMillian.
 
The House is scheduled to hold a hearing on the companion bill, HB 1191, on March 18.
 
If passed, Maryland would become the first state to require GE food labeling.

 

For more information on biotechnology and food labeling, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website hereand here.