LD 991
Session - 127th Maine Legislature
C "B", Filing Number H-597, Sponsored by
LR 1698
Item 3
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

Amend the bill by striking out everything after the enacting clause and before the summary and inserting the following:

Sec. 1. 22 MRSA c. 565-A  is enacted to read:



§ 2599 Purpose

It is the purpose of this chapter to:

1 Public health and food safety.   Promote food safety and protect public health by enabling consumers to avoid the potential risks associated with genetically engineered foods and serve as a risk management tool enabling consumers, physicians and scientists to identify unintended health effects resulting from the consumption of genetically engineered foods;
2 Environmental impacts.   Assist consumers who are concerned about the potential effects of genetic engineering on the environment to make informed purchasing decisions;
3 Consumer confusion and inadvertent deception.   Reduce and prevent consumer confusion and inadvertent deception and promote the disclosure of factual information on food labels to allow consumers to make informed decisions;
4 Promote economic development.   Create additional market opportunities for those producers who are not certified organic producers and whose products are not produced using genetic engineering and enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions; and
5 Protect religious and cultural practices.   Ensure consumers are provided with data from which they may make informed decisions for personal, religious, moral, cultural or ethical reasons.

§ 2599-A Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

1 Commissioner.   "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
2 Food.   "Food" means food intended for human consumption.
3 Genetically engineered.   "Genetically engineered" has the same meaning as under Title 7, section 1051, subsection 2.
4 Medical food.   "Medical food" means food prescribed by a physician for treatment of a medical condition.

§ 2599-B Disclosure requirements for genetically engineered food

1 Disclosure.   Beginning 18 months after the effective date of this section, any food offered for retail sale that is genetically engineered must be accompanied by a conspicuous disclosure that states "Produced with Genetic Engineering." The statement must be located on the package for all packaged food or, in the case of unpackaged food, on a card or label on the store shelf or bin in which the food is displayed.
2 Use of term "natural."   A food that is subject to disclosure under subsection 1 may not be described on the label or by similar identification as "natural."
3 Misbranding.   Any food that is genetically engineered that does not display the disclosure required under subsection 1 or that is labeled or identified as natural in violation of subsection 2 is considered misbranded for the purposes of chapter 551, subchapter 1 except that:
A A food is not considered misbranded if the food is produced by a person who:

(1) Grows, raises or otherwise produces that food without knowledge that the food was created from other seed or other food that was genetically engineered; and

(2) Obtains a sworn statement from the person from whom the food was obtained that the food was not knowingly genetically engineered and was segregated from and not knowingly commingled with a food component that may have been genetically engineered;

B A food product derived from an animal is not considered misbranded if the animal was not genetically engineered but was fed genetically engineered feed; and
C A packaged processed food is not considered misbranded if the total weight of the processed food that was genetically engineered is less than 0.9% of the total weight of the processed food.
4 Rules.   The commissioner may adopt routine technical rules under Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A for the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

§ 2599-C Third-party protection

1 Reliance on affidavit.   A distributor or retailer that sells or advertises food that is genetically engineered that fails to make the disclosure required under section 2599-B, subsection 1 is not subject to liability in any civil action to enforce this chapter if the distributor or retailer relied on the affidavit under section 2599-E provided by the producer or grower stating that the food is not subject to the disclosure requirements under this chapter.
2 Eating establishments.   Eating establishments are exempt from the disclosure requirements of this chapter.
3 Exempt products.   Alcoholic beverages and medical food are exempt from the disclosure requirements of this chapter.

§ 2599-D Enforcement

1 Authority.   The commissioner shall enforce this chapter in the same manner as is authorized for enforcement of chapter 551, subchapter 1.
2 No private right.   There is no private right of action to enforce this chapter.
3 Penalty.   A person who violates this chapter commits a civil violation for which a fine may be assessed that may not exceed $1,000 per day per misbranded product per sales location.

§ 2599-E Affidavit

The commissioner shall develop an affidavit form that may be provided by a producer or grower of food to distributors and retailers and that may be included in shipments of food within the State certifying that the food being sold or shipped is not subject to the disclosure requirements of this chapter.

Sec. 2. PL 2013, c. 436  is repealed.

Sec. 3. Statutory referendum procedure; submission at election; form of question; effective date. This Act must be submitted to the legal voters of the State at a statewide election held in the month of November following passage of this Act. The municipal officers of this State shall notify the inhabitants of their respective cities, towns and plantations to meet, in the manner prescribed by law for holding a statewide election, to vote on the acceptance or rejection of this Act by voting on the following question:

"Do you favor the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food products in Maine?"

The legal voters of each city, town and plantation shall vote by ballot on this question and designate their choice by a cross or check mark placed within a corresponding square below the word "Yes" or "No." The ballots must be received, sorted, counted and declared in open ward, town and plantation meetings and returns made to the Secretary of State in the same manner as votes for members of the Legislature. The Governor shall review the returns. If a majority of the legal votes are cast in favor of this Act, the Governor shall proclaim the result without delay and this Act becomes effective 30 days after the date of the proclamation.

The Secretary of State shall prepare and furnish to each city, town and plantation all ballots, returns and copies of this Act necessary to carry out the purposes of this referendum.’


This amendment, which is the minority report, repeals the public law that enacted Maine's genetically modified food products labeling law, which only takes effect if mandatory labeling is adopted by at least 5 contiguous states, including Maine. This amendment instead enacts the labeling law contingent on approval by the voters in a referendum at the general election in November.

Top of Page