Franklin Countys First News

GMO labeling bill rally, public hearing Tuesday

AUGUSTA - A bill targeting genetically-modified food labeling, sponsored by a local legislator, will be reviewed by a legislative committee tomorrow, as proponents rally outside the statehouse.

Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, is proposing LD 718, An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food and Seed Stock, which would require genetically modified foods to be labeled in Maine if five other states join in or if one state, such as California or New York, with a total population of 20 million or more joins the interstate compact.

Lance Harvell

Lance Harvell

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association has announced plans to hold a rally and press conference in support of the bill at noon at the State House. Supporters are urge to bring positive signs and banners.

At 1 p.m., the Agricultural, Conservation and Forestry Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed bill.

Biotech food companies, such as Monsanto, produce seeds that are genetically modified to be resistant to various plant diseases or certain types of herbicides used on weeds. In Maine, some farmers are planting corn, soybeans and sugar beet seeds that have been genetically altered. They do so because it's believed transgenic seeds can boost production rates and lower pesticide use and costs. Those concerned about GMO seed use say that the long-term effects of eating foods derived from those seeds isn't known.

Harvell decided last summer to propose the mandatory labeling law after he heard concerns of increasing GMO seed use from local farmers, including Will Bonsall of Industry who founded The Scatterseed Project, an heirloom seed preservation organization.

One of the worries, Harvell has said, among farmers and small seed companies he's talked with is that the new, genetically-engineered crops will cross pollinate by insect or wind, for instance, and wipe out heirloom varieties.

As it stands now, 123 legislators have signed on as co-sponsors to Harvell's proposed bill.

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39 Responses »

  1. I'm not sure that such a bill would really matter.

    If you are buying food NOT labeled organic you can be sure it is from genetically modified food. Almost every single acre (88%) of farmland in this country uses genetically modified seeds. Here is some government data if you would like to look for yourselves. (click on the excel link under data set)

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us.aspx

    I don't understand what the hysteria is about genetically modified food. We have been eating it for 17 years now. Trillions upon trillions of meals have been served using gen mod foods and I havn't seen ANY proof that it is bad in any way.

    What I have seen that is potentially bad is enormous population growth on Earth. Let's put our priorities first and make sure these people are getting fed. Those who don't want gen mod foods can simply buy organic, it's already labeled!!

  2. I think we should have this bill passed. Monsanto is getting to big and to powerful, and in the process are harming seeds in that they have to be repurchased yearly and they don't know what the harm to people or animals will be.

  3. Here we go again... fear mongering. Show the data that proves GMO's are dangerous. It's a wonder there is any progress at all in this country in this day and age. A bridge might collapse .. so we shouldn't build bridges; my cell phone emits radio waves .. so I shouldn't use it; aspirin irritates some stomachs .. so no one should take it... etc.

  4. It's not for the State of Maine to put limits on Monsanto Inc..
    Humans have been genetically modifying plants for tens of thousands of years- we just have better technology to do it today.

    Show that GMO foods are harmful before passing laws regarding them.
    If people don't want to eat GMO -buy organic.

  5. I think that this is a great initiative. As a consumer, I simply would just like to know what I am eating and how it is made. Having this labeling will simply make consumers more informed and create more transparency for the future. To the people that say this is fear mongering are simply fearing change. We live in a age where it should be required to list calorie content and other information. I do not see labeling GMO's any different than labeling crayons as 'non-toxic' or cigarettes as 'harmful'. I personally would still buy GMO labeled products, but it would create incentive for me to create a better balance between organic and local options and processed options. If we are to nationalize Health Care in the coming years, we as a nation should support health options and knowledge to build a better informed community.

  6. Lance Harvell's fears of cross pollination would not be addressed by a law that required labeling of foods produced through GMO crops. So what is this bill really about?

    I thought the conservative philosophy was to not have government hinder businesses? I thought the hope of the Republican party in Maine and our Governor was to promote business in Maine, not inhibit it?
    The bill would be an expense to business, large and small, local and out of state, to create new labels for food products. There is absolutely no proof that GMO products are in any way harmful to the consumer.
    Is it logical to expect large food corporations, like Kraft, General Mills, Unilever....to create labels just for Maine? It might just be easier and cheaper for them to stop selling in Maine.
    Furthermore, this would be one law to enforce. Who would do that? How much would that cost?
    I thought the state was hurting for money? I thought the idea was to reduce state government and reduce spending?
    How does having someone policing grocery shelves for illegal labels help that?

  7. There is plenty of information available about the dangers of some kinds of genetically modified foods. You don't have to spend too much time looking online to find reliable studies showing that there are indeed consequences from continually consuming some of them. How long are we going to wait to admit it? This is about money--big money for big agribusiness companies. They want to be able to do what is best for them despite the potential consequences to others. There needs to be accountability to the consumer. I would love to see labeling on all foods containing genetically modified foods.

  8. snowman, companies create new labels every time there's a new diet fad, promotional partnership, or new and improved recipe. if you've been shopping for any length of time, you'll notice that this happens very often, and it hasn't put anyone out of business.

  9. If the GMO plants, for example corn, cross pollinate and stop my corn seeds from germinating that I had saved then I have lost a freedom that the United Stated and Human's all over the world have had for centuries. This is much more concerning than the overall health of GMO foods. This slippery slope could eventually not allow a humans to sustain themselves with their own land if all seeds become "annuals" (only growing one season forcing the purchase of seeds annually) from GMO pollination.

  10. Jon-boy: They might not want to do it for one state with a low population. It's one thing to do a label for 400,000,000, another for 1,000,000. And, what about the little guy?
    What happened to the whining about hurting the little business? Just a few weeks ago, I was reading here what a woman wrote who complained that she had to have a different sink for her mop than her cookware for her bakery businesses. So, now she has to create new labels? And, it's not just the labels. NO- the info has to be backed up and proven, so paperwork filed with a state agency, inspectors, approvals. Time, money and waste.

    Dawn: post a link- to just one reliable study. Go ahead. Show me, show all of us. As was said above, trillions of meals have been consumed with GMO foods. Your statement is true of any foods. Eat too much of anything or prepare it the wrong way and it will be bad for you.
    In fact, most people in this country do eat foods that are bad for them. A lot.

    What about restaurants? It would only be fair to require them to list any and all foods on the menu that have GMO in them. Again, this would need to be verified, by a state agency and approved.
    Lots of new menus, lots of paperwork.
    Think about it.
    Local restaurants, seasonal places. All their flour, corn meal, seasonings, oils, nuts, fruit, toppings, ice cream, dairy products, meats, poultry and vegetables. All will need to be verified with the state, and proven to be GMO free.
    Lots of state tax dollars being thrown away.
    If people want to go after GMO crops, do it on a federal level. Write to Susan Collins, Angus King, Mike Michaud, Chellie Pingree. President Obama.
    Lets get back to getting our house in order in Maine. Pay the hospital bill. Get a budget that works. Reduce unemployment. Fund education.

  11. If GMOs and Monsanto are not harmful to us (humans) then why are so many other counties banning them? And yes, there are info and links to back this up below.

    "PreventDisease.com

    Poland has become the eighth EU member state to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops. Seven other EU member states have already imposed bans on the cultivation of GM crops approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as safe: Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece and Bulgaria.

    The Polish Agriculture Ministry expressed concerns that GM crops may cross-pollinate with non-GM crops and Monsanto’s MON810 maize pollen may find its way into honey. The ministry also pointed to that there exists no scientific assessments confirming that GM crops are safe for the environment and people.

    In a statement, Greenpeace Poland’s ‘Stop GMO’ campaign coordinator Joanna Mis said, “The government has delivered on its promise,” and, “We are happy that Poland has joined the club of countries that ban the cultivation of GM crops. However, this is not the end of our campaign. We have to make sure that the European Commission does not manage to lift the ban [...]. We also have to make sure that crops will be effectively controlled and the ban on cultivation observed.”

    A panel of experts appointed by a Supreme Court has recently recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all genetically modified (GM) food and termination of all ongoing trials of transgenic crops in India. See: http://www.examiner.com/article/a-10-year-cap-on-genetically-modified-foods-recommended-by-supreme-court-panel

    Read more: http://preventdisease.com/news/13/042213_Poland-Becomes-The-8th-EU-Nation-To-Ban-Monsanto-Maize.shtml"

  12. Here are some more Monsanto is harmful information.

    "Monsanto's pesticides kill bees, disrupt ecosystems, pollute rivers and groundwater and are the source of a number of cancers and malformations. It has been scientifically proven that GMOs are responsible for the development of cancer: http://goo.gl/3KzNf

    Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields: http://goo.gl/kCppW

    5 Million Farmers Sue Monsanto for $7.7 Billion: http://goo.gl/113w0

    Monsanto vs. Mother Earth — More than 1,868,234 have signed. SIGN THE PETITION: http://www.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_vs_mother_earth_loc"

  13. Some folks are way too trusting to take what government studies say verbatim - there is so much more information out there besides what USDA and Monsanto want you hear about - but it is easier for some not to do the research or think for themselves on their own and believe what they are told - all this bill is doing is giving those who want a choice to have one. There is a massive difference between genetic engineering in a laboratory setting and what our forefathers did with selective breeding and cross pollination. It's cool to quote percentages, fear mongering - but the bottom line is Mr. Harvell is proposing LD 718, An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food and Seed Stock - "our right to know"

  14. Once in Ohio, during the fall I worked in a food processing plant adding salt to the tomato juice. A fairly straightforward task of adding salt to Tank A, as it filled and then switching to Tank B...

    In season, the plant processed 12 tons of tomatoes per hour. The salt station was located just above from where the tomatoes were hand sorted before entering the the steamer. I was complimented by a lab technician for the consistency of salt as measured in the shelf ready product. After which, I was reassigned to the rejected pallets of ketchup for reprocessing as the harvest season had drawn to a close.

    In order to know if a food is using a GMO seed there needs to be a standard to measure by. Is a seed that is drought resistant considered gmo? If 11 tons of tomatoes are mixed with 1 ton of gmo tomatoes does that constitute food that is GMO? A package of corn chips that incorporates corn and soybean where one seed is a variant of of its root gene, so that it combines with another e.g. corn/soybean mash. Is the variant that is made to blend with the other pose a health factor, or the recipe for a corn chip?

  15. Jim Nichols........Part of what Lance is trying to get across is, the company who told us agent orange is not un healthy, and also said DDT was not bad, is now telling us GMO foods are alright for us. Even a fool would at the very least, take what they say with a very large chunk of salt. It took a lot of years to finally figure out DDT and agent orange was unhealthy. The same could be true for GMO'S. Its not " hysteria " Jim,.......its called plain old fashioned reasoning. Something some people do more than others.

  16. Making the argument in favor of modern GMO foods because "humans have been genetically modifying plants for thousands of years," is comparing apples to oranges. Before the current time, plants were modified by natural cross-breeding, and the results were a plant that still had natural qualities. Modern genetic engineering involves splicing the plant DNA by an unnatural means, and inserting properties that are actually harmful for human consumption.

    Many GMO plants actually have pesticides as part of the plant structure, so that when we eat them, we are directly consuming pesticides, often in large amounts. Other GMO plants are herbicide-resistant, so that toxic weed killers may be used on them, which kills the weeds and leaves the GMO plant still standing. The problem is that the weed killers, like Monsanto's Round-up, do not even degrade. They infiltrate ground water and poison aquifers, and they become components of the soil which grows the GMO plants, which we in turn eat.

    To say that there is no evidence of harm from GMO foods is to turn a blind eye to what is happening to us and around us. Chronic medical conditions afflict a large percentage of the population. Notice I did not say "chronic diseases." There are not many chronic medical conditions which are actually diseases. They are rather reactions by our bodies to non-stop exposure to small amounts of toxins, which become large amounts over time, as our bodies grow older, and become less capable of ridding themselves of toxins.

    Look at the obitiuaries every day. See how many people die in their 40's, 50's, and 60's of chronic medical conditions, and/or complications associated with them. Cancer rates are sky high. Digestive, allergenic, muscular, and neurological conditions abound. Autism is exploding in prevalence. All these things are the results of our bodies' being continually exposed to toxins, and in large part from what we eat.

    I have spent most of the past 23 years in bed, because of chronic medical conditions. But for the past 2 years, I have been slowly coming back to life, by de-toxifying and by eating a largely organic diet. There is no need to feel that diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, among others, are inevitable as we age. My doctor told me 2 years ago that he was going to put me on medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol, and he said that I would have to be on them for the rest of my life. I refused, because I thought that if these conditions came on over a period of time, why couldn't they be reversed? Today I had a visit with my new doctor, and my vital signs are now what they were 35 years ago, when I was 19 years old.

    Don't settle for poor quality of life, if you don't need to. We don't have full control over our lives, but we can influence some parts of it. Forcing companies to label their GMO foods is only reasonable to allow people to make the best choices for the sake of their health. I can speak from experience - there is no amount of money that can compensate for having decades of poor health.

  17. If you don't want to buy GMO, then buy organic. Or move to Poland.
    This proposed law won' stop, ban or hinder GMO foods, It just requires a label.
    All it will do is create hardship on Maine businesses.
    If the goal is to eliminate GMO, or restrict it, then that has to be addressed on a federal level, not the state. Passing a label law isn't going to eliminate GMO from Maine.
    If Harvell cares so much about people's health, then why is he in favor of tanning beds? Why is he opposed to stricter gun control?
    Unlike GMO, those have actually been proven to be harmful.

    There is not a single, credible study done that proves foods produced from GMO are harmful.
    Yes, there is a lot of talk. It all says a lot of maybes, perhaps, could be's, possible's what if's. Nothing conclusive. The studies that have purported to prove harm have all been discredited and by independent scientists, not ones on Monsanto's payroll.

  18. There is not a single, credible study done that proves foods produced from GMO are harmful.
    Yes, there is a lot of talk. It all says a lot of maybes, perhaps, could be's, possible's what if's"

    Sounds just like what some people back in the day were saying about agent orange, DDT, and cigarettes. Whats the matter snowy,......got some kind of problem with Lance? Sounds like common sense legislation to me. I doubt having to label goods GMO free, like many thriving companies are already doing, will harm anyone, and in fact, may help many.This bill has 123 sponsors ,on both sides. I dont know if you knew it or not, but that is A LOT OF SUPPORT. As far as the other bills, like the "tanning bill", well , its just plain dumb and went down like it should have, and as far as "gun control"? Please.............we already have thousands of gun control laws now. Maybe we should actually try to enforce those, before creating new ones??

  19. Good work Lance. Hopefully another local politician doesn't try to steal your thunder again. And weather is getting warm enough to melt snowmen.

  20. Everyone has the option to believe or not believe that GMO's are dangerous. It only makes sense to me that if a seed has been injected with pesticide that blows up the stomach of the pests that eat it, there is a pretty good likelihood that it may have some adverse affects on people over time. But maybe that doesn't make sense to other people. Someone will always be coming up with cheaper, easier ways to produce food to sell to the public. Cheaper is not always better. I would rather not have companies with the track record that Monsanto has making decisions with such far reaching consequences. Whenever large amounts of money are involved, you can rest assured that the inclination isn't always to do what is truly best for the consumer. It would be nice if it did work that way, but it just doesn't.

  21. @ Snowman--First be secure enough in your positions to utilize your given name. Secondly, and more importantly, this seems like a viable first step in the process of regulating the GMO. Currently the food companies, families--apparently all food is ultimately owned by 5 families, but I don't have time to look that up now, so why do we let them dictate what happens to our food and how exactly is it that "All it will do is create a hardship on Maine businesses"?

    Now, here is a case of Maine people being hurt by food regulation--1 farmer, Dan Brown, with his 1 cow. Maine’s case against a Blue Hill farmer and his cow gains national attention--

    http://bangordailynews.com/2011/12/27/news/hancock/maines-case-against-a-blue-hill-farmer-and-his-cow-gains-national-attention/

    Why is it we are so willing to submit the average citizen to the rule of stringent law, but not the wealthy? I'm confused.

    Just in case you think the Farmer Brown issue is an isolated case here is another quick link to show you that we the people are being forced out of producing and using our own food across the country.

    Illegal Front Yard Vegetable Gardens: Des Moines Considers Home Garden Ban

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/illegal-front-yard-vegetable-gardens-zb01302zrob.aspx#ixzz2RNQdy2fL

    So, again, I ask what exactly is the issue with regulating large corporations into at the least telling us what is in our food?

    Here is how the food companies do it, just hide it in a completely different bill and hope it goes unnoticed.

    "In one long, legalese-filled sentence, Section 735 basically compels the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow genetically engineered crops to grow even if the environmental impact of a particular plant is disputed in court. Although the USDA already had the legal discretion to make this call, Section 735 effectively streamlines the regulatory process to prevent further holdups in the seed market."

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/17987-monsanto-protection-act-takes-shape/

  22. @ Snowman, Please provide us the links to the evidence that you quote. "The studies that have purported to prove harm have all been discredited and by independent scientists, not ones on Monsanto's payroll."

  23. DDT is now legal according to the WHO, it is fine (and the original study and the book that was written about it were flawed horrifically) when used according to directions and not sprayed everywhere in huge amounts. Mosquitoes are starting to become immune to it but it is still pretty effective at mosquito population control.

    Dawn, specifically for you, if there are all these studies (that are reliable, meaning published and peer reviewed) then can you provide a link to some of them? My searching, in earnest and for a number of years, has not been fruitful. In every study I've seen about them they end up starting with a huge bias - a true scientific flaw. They start by asking the question, "Can it be proven that GM foods are safe?"

    An apple isn't already safe in certain quantities and asking science to prove a negative is absurd. It's like asking science to prove that the invisible dinosaur in my garage is not real. No amount of science can ever prove that it isn't real but logic would dictate that extraordinary evidence requires extraordinary proof and you can't prove a negative.

    I'm asking for this evidence, I'll read anything you link to and evaluate it honestly and openly. I've been looking for evidence saying that this is bad (not that it could be bad but that it is, in and of itself, harmful) and haven't found any. I'm a firm believer in science and if they can prove it is bad (and have, according to you) then I'll weigh my options and form my view based on that new evidence but I know of no current studies that prove GM foods are harmful in and of themselves.

  24. Sounds Federal to me, here at home, let's get our finances in order.

  25. Snowman. I am not in favor or against tanning beds. We give people the information already on that nad let them decide. This is all this labeling bill would do. As to you arguments about Maine going it alone that is to the case with this bill there would have to be 5 states pass labeling bills before this would take effect and that is to make sure Maine would not go it alone. Already 62 countries require these labels U.S. companies already label what they sell on those markets are we to be denied the same access to knowledge? The fact is that the FDA does not test any of these products and all I am suggesting is that if you are going to involve the public in an experiment then maybe they should be informed about it. And this is a free market bill because markets work best when people have access to information provide it and let the markets decide. And the idea that the only 2 choices are organic and gmo is quite incorrect.

  26. Snowman said…

    “I thought the conservative philosophy was to not have government hinder businesses? I thought the hope of the Republican party in Maine and our Governor was to promote business in Maine, not inhibit it?

    The bill would be an expense to business, large and small, local and out of state, to create new labels for food products.”

    “They might not want to do it for one state with a low population. It's one thing to do a label for 400,000,000, another for 1,000,000. And, what about the little guy? What happened to the whining about hurting the little business?”

    I am curious to what Snowman’s philosophy on “promoting” and “inhibiting” business is when the business is say…Halliburton or any of the big oil companies. They fall under the same rules of a Capitalistic society. I have a feeling the tune change would be so rapid that we would hear the tell tale ping of the fiddle string breaking.

  27. http://aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

    Here is a link to an article by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine footnoted with various studies that have been done concerning GMO's. It may take more to convince some than others. The thing is, we are all part of the study on the safety of GMO's. We ought to be allowed to have the information available to us to opt out. They have not been proven to be safe, and there are studies that show that they are very likely otherwise. Studies show environmental consequences, too.

    An article I read this morning says this,"Scientific evidence is emerging that genetically modified foods can increase health risks and food allergies. They said there is a lack of scientific studies proving health risks because FEDERAL REGULATORS HAVE LEFT TESTING UP TO THE BIOTECH INDUSTRY THAT IS PRODUCING AND PROFITING FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED, which have been in the domestic food supply for nearly 20 years." (Talk about the fox guarding the hen house!)

    The article goes on to say, "The Food and Drug Administration regulates genetically modified foods but does not approve them. THE AGENCY ASSUMES THE FOODS ARE SAFE UNTIL CONFRONTED WITH EVIDENCE THAT THEY'RE NOT." (Considering the fact that testing has been left up to those who stand to profit the most from GMO's, it is no wonder that the FDA hasn't been confronted with enough evidence to convince them of the dangers.)

    And again, "Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumers Union, the policy advocacy division of Consumer Reports, has worked on labeling legislation in Congress. He told lawmakers Tuesday that FEDERAL REGULATORS HAVE CEDED REVIEW OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED PRODUCTS TO ENSURE THAT THE INDUSTRY -- NOT THE GOVERNMENT -- IS LEGALLY LIABLE IF HEALTH PROBLEMS SURFACE."

    I'm sorry, but these statements don't make me more comfortable with the situation.

  28. First of I'd like to say I have enjoyed this discussion very much. It reflects,(the comments) the views of ultra right wing conservatives to flaming liberals,so to speak. So I add my two cents worth. No matter how anyone feels about GMO's it is only fair to all that we have the right to know. Personally here is how I see it.
    Monsanto and the company that makes Roundup have close ties. The thrust or the blunt genetic manipulation for crops was/is to make them more Roundup resistant because weeds had become mutated to resist the pesticide when applied to crops in dilutions that still allowed crops to survive.It is made to kill everything else SO Monsanto just made the crops more resistant,weeds get killed more pesticide is sold win win for Monsanto. And the people loose as they get slowly poisoned in the dog chase tail process as more and more even higher concentrations of pesticide are used.

  29. I am appreciative of all the comments and opinions. Snowman...stop...think....

    It is all about labeling to be able to make informed choices. There is much to consider with food choices and to do so we need information, then people can make up their own minds.

    As far as the comments about wait for the proof. Look at the ground fish stocks in the gulf of Maine. For years I wanted them snag every menhaden, selling them to Russia for cat food. Now there are no menhaden (and few bluefish or stripers either). Huge draggers toiled endlessly and decimated the cod and haddock stock, Herring are netted with no limits. But there were no studies to prove what your eyes and senses told you.
    So now the herring stocks are low, thus Bluefin tuna and other desirable species don't flock to the gulf of Maine. This despite the fact that we watched Europe's fish stocks crash as an a example of what not to do.
    then there is DDT, polyflourocarbons, mercury, lead, cigarettes etc. Maybe we should not have waited for the proof to do something.- many would not have suffered and died.,

    Short term profits at the expense of the environment is poor medicine. When soil water and air are all polluted, all the other social causes cease to exist.

  30. One of the strongest pesticides that has ever been discovered, and is more powerful than most of those ever created- is nicotine. Tobacco plants produce it as part of their natural defense against pests.
    Nicotine production and distribution with the specific intent to create addiction is one of the major industries of the USA. It has been for longer than the country has existed. Indeed, it is one of the foremost reasons the continent was colonized by europeans.
    Why aren't all of you GMO supporters out trying to stomp out tobacco sales in Maine? There is a proven health hazard.

    I think the real problem here, is a general lack of scientific understanding. In all of the comments here so far, there has not been one single link to one single study that proves GMO products are harmful. As I said, there are a lot maybes.
    I can do a google search and list several links to studies that show they are safe. I didn't do so, since I was concerned the Bulldog editors wouldn't let it be published. But anyone with a internet connection can do so too.
    I have laid out the ways that this law will adversely affect Maine businesses.
    There seems to be an attitude that promoting business is good, until that business gets large and successful and then it's no longer to be trusted.
    Leave it to Republicans to be so easily hypocritical.
    People don't understand enough chemistry and biology to understand GMO. Or pesticides for that matter.
    BTW, DDT played a huge positive role in eradicating a lot of pests and disease in the immediate aftermath of WWII. It was misused, and not well understood by many of those who used it and that created an environmental hazard. Lots of things we did back then also did. Lead in gasoline and paint, for example.
    We have learned from our mistakes. Science has progressed. Unfortunately the public's lack of scientific education has limited too many people's abilities to grasp those advances.

  31. New labels are printed every day. Label it as to what it is, track it to find out what it does, if anything. Data is cheap if you have it, and priceless if you don't have it.

    One of the reasons to be more aware of what large companies do is that they affect more of everything: More of Nature, more of the food chain, more of the land, more of the water.

    If it takes truth in labeling to differentiate small growers from the big industrials, and the difference in the quality/health impacts of the food is worth knowing, then let the appropriate labeling to differentiate the product happen. Make it so.....

  32. @ Snowman, Three things and then I am done with this discussion as it is quite clear that you in no way wish to sincerely contribute to the discussion.

    1) I do not believe that the Daily Bulldog would eradicate your post based on the position that you take. If you have credible studies that were not done or financed by the GMO companies then post them as I and others have posted links pointing to the adverse affects GMOs have.

    2) Tobacco, check your information. In case you have missed it the State of Maine and much of the rest of the country are cracking down on tobacco. No smoking in State Parks, No smoking in public parks in many cities, companies refusing to hire and even firing based on use of tobacco, etc.

    3) If you are such a supporter of GMOs and of them not being regulated then I suggest that you follow your own advice and move to China where there is virtually no regulation on big business. Perhaps dead pigs floating in your water supply is your idea of a good time.

    Here's your headline and link for that one:

    Rivers of blood: the dead pigs rotting in China's water supply
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/29/dead-pigs-china-water-supply

    My ultimate point is what exactly is wrong with informing the customer, by labeling, what is in the products that they consume? Just imagine if tobacco and alcohol had been labeled this way back before they were big enough to squash any resistance. Perhaps there would have been many informed consumers who would not have used these products thereby reducing their illnesses.

    Have a nice day and stay informed.

  33. Dawn,

    Thank you for the link. I've finally had a chance to read the site and have taken the opportunity to look at the various Google results for several (I've not done them all as some appear to be working papers) and from what I'm seeing they're at the point of saying that there may be health complications depending on a lot of variables. I can't argue that and I've as near as I can tell, well, none of those conclude that GM is bad in and of itself. I do recommend that people who are uncomfortable with GM take the time to know where their food comes from. The beauty is, in this day and age, that you can quite easily (as compared to even 10 years ago) shop locally and know your local farmers.

    I did head over to Wikipedia and notice that there are a lot more citations and links to primary sources at the bottom of this page than there used to be:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

    It now includes this line:

    "There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops pose no greater risk than conventional food."

    That line wasn't in the article the last time I looked as I recall though it is there along with seven different citations (which I think is a record from what I've seen but I tend to stay away from many of their controversial pages).

    I do NOT recommend taking the statement at face value - I do think it is a wiser course of action to actually click the citations, find the primary research, and then (if you're able and understand the results well enough) making your own choices.

  34. Mr. Greenlaw:

    I ask you to carefully re-read my comments. I laid out in clear language sound reasons why this bill is not good for Maine. The proper venue to debate this issue should be federal not state.
    To implement this law on a state level will create an undue hardship on Maine businesses.
    Despite the large numbers of people in favor of this, the facts don't bear it out.

    Lets see if the BullDog publishes this.

    http://www.fooddialogues.com/foodsource/topics/biotech-seeds?gclid=CNKR0JDo5bYCFaYDOgodRAoAmg

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40987259?uid=3739712&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102196733607

    http://www.globalmagazine.info/sites/default/files/PDF/pusztai-gm-foods-risk-human-animal-health-2001.pdf

    http://www.fhs.d211.org/departments/science/mduncan/bioweb/Biotechnology/Genetically%20Modified%20Foods.pdf
    http://sss.sagepub.com/content/32/1/71.short

    http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/foodsciefacpub/42/

  35. I really do appreciate the tone of your comments, Galen. I'm just a wife and mom trying to navigate my way through this life making the wisest decisions I can for my family. There have been so many things through the years that have been declared wise and good and harmless that have ended up being anything but. I don't want to be looking back on this one and find out that they were wrong again. That has happened so many times with so many things. Snowman himself gave a list of some, and we could add many more. He seems confident that this isn't going to turn out to be one of those situations, but history has a way of repeating itself, and I lack his confidence. It has happened too often that those with money and power have been able to control and stifle information that isn't in their own best interest. Call me a cynic, but I just don't trust that the wisest decisions always get made in these situations. I'm not asking for GMO's to be outlawed or banned at this point, I just think that we should have the information more readily availabe so that if we want to limit or avoid consuming them, we can. Hindsight is always 20/20, it's foresight that we have to struggle with.

  36. snowman, why are you so convinced that the bulldog is trying to suppress your comments? if you are civil there is no reason to believe they won't publish your comments or links. my comments have been rejected before too, and it's not because i'm a conservative or something, because i'm definitely not.

    it has already been pointed out in comments by mr. harvell and others that this bill will not create an undue hardship for the state of maine.

    you are really reaching for an argument when you bring up d.d.t. and tobacco, and your logic is quite flawed. how does your example of tobacco have anything to do with your opposition to g.m.o. labelling? all tobacco packaging is labelled with indications that literally say that the product can kill you, and has been for some time. they still make tons of money. furthermore, if tobacco warnings had been mandatory when health concerns first arose, many lives could have been saved. the same goes for d.d.t.--we now know that it's harmful and it's changed the way it is used. so what's your point?

  37. Jonboy:

    The Bulldog has often suppressed my comments. It's a privately owned and operated business and the editors are free to chose what they want published. It seems to make no difference as to the politeness of the comments. I have and others have, written some rather snarky stuff that gets published. Other times, even though I have taken pains to ensure the correctness of my remarks, the editors have chosen not to publish.
    It's their prerogative, just as it is mine to not advertise and/or to not patronize the businesses that do advertise in the Bull Dog.

    I did not bring up DDT, someone else did.

    Re-read my comments. I think I brought up some valid reasons that show how this can potentially be detrimental to some Maine businesses.

    I also think that there are some who are in favor of this that are proponents for their own gain.

    Mr. Harvell has mad mistakes before with unintended consequences from legislation he backed.

    There is a mass world wide hysteria about GMO foods, without sufficient data to support it. I myself don't really care about GMO one way or the other. I have no stake in it. I see this as a bill that will increase the size of state government, cost taxpayer money to fund and create a hardship on Maine businesses, large and small.

  38. An approximate product list of store bought foods targeted as containing GMO ingredients. The source of the list is perhaps the competition or unbiased?

    Comprehensive List Of GMO Products
    Posted on October 2, 2012

    http://shiftfrequency.com/comprehensive-list-of-gmo-products/

  39. @snowman:
    "BTW, DDT played a huge positive role in eradicating a lot of pests and disease in the immediate aftermath of WWII. It was misused, and not well understood by many of those who used it and that created an environmental hazard. Lots of things we did back then also did. Lead in gasoline and paint, for example."

    the proponents who stand to gain from this bill include consumers, farmers, and local food producers who don't wish to use seeds or food ingredients that are "genetically modified." whether g.m.o.s have been shown without doubt to be harmful is not part of the present debate, rather, the public's right to know what they are consuming, which is currently not openly advertised.

    the cost of labelling the foods, which would be negligible, falls to the producers. it seems that the only reason companies would object to the bill would be that they would be prevented from marketing food as "natural" when that is not technically the case. the regulation of such activity would be in control of a department which already exists and already has similar duties. the bill does not call for the formation of any new departments, the hiring of any new staff, or anything else that would present an undue burden to the state or consumers.

    i have re-read your comments, and found no "valid reason" the bill could be detrimental to maine businesses; your concerns have all been addressed by the language of the bill or by other comments above, for example, restaurants are exempted.

    the bill can be read here:
    http://legiscan.com/ME/text/LD718

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